Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 6
By Umid Niayesh - Trend: Iran will manufacture at least seven important vaccines during the next four years, Iranian Health Minister, Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said, IRNA news agency reported.
He went on to note that, the country faces a shortage in supplying some needed vaccines, without unveiling any exact details.
Iran was a main vaccine producer and was able to supply all vaccine needs of the region, Qazizadeh Hashemi said, adding that at the present, unfortunately the county has to import its needed vaccine.
Iran has changed from a vaccine exporter country to vaccine importer during the last decade.
According to a report dated December 2003 by the Swedish Defence Research Agency, vaccines which were produced by Iranian manufacturers covered most of the domestic needs for human vaccines, both in terms of the diseases covered and the volumes of the manufactured vaccines.
As a result of efforts to expand vaccine production, Iran had been lauded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the most successful country of the region in immunizing children against polio. Furthermore, the Iranian Razi Institute was one of the first institutes in the world able to mass-produce the poliomyelitis vaccines.
In 1997 and 1998, the annual production of all vaccines was around 2.8 billion doses and was expected to rise to 3 billion doses in 1999.
In addition to covering domestic demand, Iran was exporting vaccines to 19 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe at the time.
Western sanctions have affected Iran's vaccine industry as well as the country's other industries.
The vaccine industry also suffers lack of investment, old technology issues and problems in buying new equipment.
The vaccine industry in Iran is state-owned. The private sector only plays the role as vaccine importer for the government.