The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) will import 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to allow health authorities start an inoculation program that will cover students between 12 and 18 years old.
IRCS chief Karim Hemmati said on Saturday that vaccine imports for the purpose of immunizing students had been finalized upon an order by the Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi.
Hemmati said vaccinating students was meant to allow a reopening of schools in Iran later this month after two years of closures because of the pandemic.
The announcement is a first suggesting that the Iranian government is planning to expand its coronavirus vaccinations to children above the age of 12.
It comes as authorities struggle to finish vaccinations for all teachers and education staff in the country to allow schools reopening to go ahead as planned.
Education ministry officials said on Saturday that they would gradually reopen schools in remote regions and in the countryside in late September before they go for a full reopening next month.
Vaccinating students would also ease rising public concerns about the safety of children attending classes.
Iran has seen a major boost to coronavirus vaccinations in recent weeks mainly due to a ramp up in imports of jabs from China.
The IRCS has been responsible for 60% or 30 million doses of all foreign vaccine shipments that have arrived in the country since imports began in late December.
Raeisi said on Saturday that the inoculation program will further accelerate with an increase in the number of daily vaccinations to two million doses per day.
“We hope daily vaccination would soon pass the milestone of two million individuals,” said Raeisi while addressing a high-profile meeting of Iran’s coronavirus taskforce.