“As soon as vaccinations start in Iran, we will definitely have better conditions. I hope we can start before the end of the year 1399 [Persian calendar] and even by the month of Bahman,” which ends on February 18, Rouhani said on Tuesday, according to Press TV.
“After medical staff and high-risk people are vaccinated, the situation changes completely, and later, the rest of the public will use it,” he added. “Millions of doses of foreign vaccines will be imported and then from the summer, we hope domestic vaccines will enter the market and people can use it.”
Iran has purchased 16.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, a multi-agency group dedicated to assuring fair access to vaccines for low- and middle-income countries.
It has also bought Sputnik V vaccine from Russia and plans its joint production. The first batch of the Russian vaccine is expected to arrive in Iran later this week.
The Islamic Republic is further examining sourcing vaccines from other producers such as India and China.
At the same time, the country has developed domestic vaccines against the coronavirus, one of which launched its human trial last December after successfully completing the initial steps and obtaining necessary approvals.
Several other countries have also already registered Sputnik V, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund which helped develop the vaccine, including Belarus, Venezuela, Bolivia and Algeria, according to AFP.
In January, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany had offered Russia support in Moscow's development of Sputnik V, after Russian authorities said they had applied for registration in the European Union.
Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, according to results published in The Lancet on Tuesday that independent experts said allayed transparency concerns over the jab, which Moscow is already rolling out.
Sputnik V – named after the Soviet-era satellite – was approved in Russia months before results from its final-stage clinical trials were published, leading to skepticism from experts.
But the new analysis of data from 20,000 participants in Phase 3 trials suggests that the two-dose vaccination offers more than 90 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.
Iran has been contending with the deadliest pandemic the world has seen in many decades amid illegal US sanctions that have seriously hampered efforts to stem the outbreak.
So far, 1,431,416 Iranians have been infected with COVID-19 in the country. The virus has killed 58,110 people so far, while 1,232,197 have recovered.