January 15, 2021
Iran will receive its first shipment of vaccines from COVAX, the Word Health Organization’s initiative to ensure a more equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccine across the world, before spring arrives, an Iranian official has announced. Vaccinations of priority groups will start once the shipment is received, he added.
On Monday, January 11, Mostafa Ghanei, chairman of the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s Scientific Committee, reported that Iran has procured two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from COVAX and delivery could be as early as mid-February. The first group to be vaccinated will be doctors, nurses and health workers. Ghanei added that if the clinical trials of the Iranian “CovIran-Barekat” vaccine are successful, the mass production of this vaccine will start sometime in May.
Fourteen days after the first phase of human tests on the Iranian-produced vaccine began, the second phase got underway on Tuesday, January 12. Three volunteers received the vaccine: Tayebeh Mokhber, daughter of the president of the Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive, Ali Asgari, vice president of the Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive for Social Affairs, and Hamid Reza Khalili, CEO of Pars Oil Company.
According to Iranian officials, the vaccine Iran is producing jointly with Cuba is a few steps ahead of the Iranian vaccine.
“The vaccine jointly developed with Cuba is in phase 3 and is being tested on a large number of subjects,” said Ghanei. “In other words, this vaccine is ahead of Iran’s CovIran vaccine.” He also reported that vaccines developed by three other Iranian companies would finish animal testing by January 19 and, if successful, they will receive permits to start clinical trials on humans.
The number of daily coronavirus fatalities in Iran once again approached three digits. Fatalities in the provinces continue to rise and fall, except in Mazandaran, where the rise in infections has been alarming in recent days.
The coronavirus vaccine has dominated the news, but there are also reports about air pollution, extensive power outages and the reopening of schools.
“Smart” Information System for Vaccinations
“A smart system for the distribution of the vaccine has been designed that will clearly show the situation for all vulnerable individuals and the priorities broken down by each city as part of the strategy for building confidence among the people and making the distribution and vaccinations transparent,” said government spokesman Ali Rabiei. He emphasized that the order of priorities for vaccination had been predetermined based on “scientific and moral evidence” and, according to a decision by the National Coronavirus Taskforce, no vaccination will take place outside this order of priorities.
Rabiei also claimed the government is working hard to increase the number of Covid-19 tests carried out. The number of tests conducted in Iran reached 40,000 per day in autumn, whereas Rabiei had promised that it would be increased to 100,000 per day, a promise that remains unfulfilled after two months.