The latest COVID-19 vaccine news from the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region, including the fallout from Iran’s ban on any imports of US- or UK-produced vaccines, Israel’s world-leading vaccination speed; and how Dubai Airports is working with GMR-Hyderabad to form a ‘vaccine corridor’.


Iran inks deal for Cuban vaccine after US, UK pharma ban (Asia Times)

A Cuban state-run research institute says it has signed a deal with Iran’s Pasteur Institute to test the Caribbean state’s most advanced Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Iran, Radio Free Europe online reported.

The Finlay Vaccine Institute’s (IFV) January 9 announcement came one day after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned any import of US- or UK-produced vaccines, which he called “untrustworthy,” to stop the coronavirus.


Coronavirus: Israel leads vaccine race with 1 million vaccinated (France 24)

One million people had received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of Friday in Israel, which has a population of slightly more than 9 million.

Israel said Sunday two million people will have received a two-dose Covid-19 vaccination by the end of January, a pace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasts is the world’s fastest.


Turkish pharma company licensed for vaccine production (Anadolu Agency)

Leading Turkish pharmaceutical firm Abdi Ibrahim on Thursday announced that the Turkish Health Ministry had approved the company to manufacture and fill vials of inactive as well as mRNA-based vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

“We are currently capable of producing 20 million vaccines,” said the company’s chairman, Nezih Barut in a written statement, underlining that the firm had the technology and infrastructure needed for vaccine production and vial-filling.


Dubai Airports, GMR-Hyderabad form vaccine corridor (Trade Arabia)

Dubai Airports, operator of Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), and GMR Hyderabad (GMR-HYD) have joined forces to create a Covid-19 vaccine distribution corridor.

Home to 88 global airlines including Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates, and 12 international and 400 local and regional freight forwarders, Dubai Airports with its interlinked cargo facilities at DXB and DWC and in partnership with dnata cargo, the airport service provider in Dubai, the HYD-DXB vaccine corridor will provide capacity to seamlessly handle up to 300 tonnes of vaccines per day.


Dubai aims to vaccinate 70% of population with Pfizer vaccine by 2021 (Mint)

The Middle East business hub, which is part of the UAE, is seeking to ‘reach the herd immunity that is required’

Dubai has started a free vaccination campaign last week, which in the first phase is targeting senior citizens and residents aged 60 and above