Press Release

Over 1.6 million COVID-19 vaccines land in I.R. Iran to increase protection of Afghan Refugees

15 November 2021

Caption: At 9.30 pm November 15, a plane carrying Sinopharm Vaccines for Afghan refugees landed at the airport in Tehran. Through the Covax import mechanism, the UN in Iran is helping the government protect refugees against COVID-19.
Photo: © UNICEF Iran/Sayyari/2021

Tehran15 November 2021 – This evening, a first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines landed at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran, provided as part of the Humanitarian Buffer mechanism of the COVAX Facility to help the government vaccinate more refugees. A second shipment of the vaccine will land in the country on the 16, bringing the total number of vaccines provided through the international mechanism to 1,611,600 doses. Safety boxes and syringes for these vaccines will be shipped to the country separately.  

Iran has already been vaccinating refugees against the coronavirus, at the same time as its citizens and as part of the national vaccination plan. This new shipment will ensure that more refugees will be protected under Iran’s inclusive health policies. 

Iran was one of the first countries affected by the pandemic and, in the last months, has managed to step up its vaccination campaign. So far, around 50% per cent of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated.  According to government figures, to date over 500,000 refugees and other persons of concern have received two vaccine doses. 

Photo: © UNICEF Iran/Sayyari/2021

While the Humanitarian Buffer within the COVAX Facility ensures that countries have enough vaccines to immunize high-risk and vulnerable populations in humanitarian settings, given the high number of Afghans already living in Iran, and the recent arrivals of Afghans fleeing renewed violence and insecurities, more vaccines will likely be needed to protect this community against COVID-19.

Iran’s application for the Humanitarian Buffer was supported by the UN in Iran, which extends its appreciation to the COVAX Facility.

Photo: © UNICEF Iran/Sayyari/2021

Iran, as one of the self-financing participant countries of the COVAX Facility, has since April 2021 received 6.7million COVID-19 vaccine doses from its paid allocation, with new consignments to be delivered soon. Through COVAX, UN Iran has also facilitated the delivery and shipment of donated COVID-19 vaccines to Iran, including 2.9 million doses donated by Japan, 1,139,600 doses donated by Italy and 302,400 doses donated by Germany. 

The COVAX Facility is a partnership co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi-The Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 


More information, please contact: 

UNICEF: Bahareh Yeganehfar, or mobile: +98 912 105 9106 

UNHCR: Farha Bhoyroo, or mobile: +98 912 132 7183 

WHO: Mehdi ANSARI JOVINI, or mobile: +98 912 972 9986 


United Nations Children's Fund


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization

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