"We will receive 16.8 million doses from [the World Health Organization's] COVAX facility. In addition, we have held negotiations with China, Russia and India on the acquisition and prompt transportation [of the vaccine]. We are in the process of purchasing vaccines from these countries." Rabiei told reporters, adding that Tehran was looking for the safest vaccine on the market.
Iran is currently working on the development of its own COVID-19 vaccines. Health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told Sputnik that Iran expected the first vaccine to be ready by the spring, and another two or three by summer.
Tehran is also considering the option of purchasing vaccines manufactured by other countries, except for the UK and US-made vaccines, as they were banned by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Iranian Ministry of Health earlier expressed interest in Russian COVID-19 vaccines, including Sputnik V. On January 3, a source from the Iranian embassy in Moscow told Sputnik that deputy health ministers from both Iran and Russia would soon meet to discuss cooperation on a COVID-19 vaccine.