A nurse prepares to inject a volunteer taking part in an Iranian coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine trial in Tehran, Iran December 29, 2020. (Reuters)

By Pouyan Khoshhal

January 6, 2021

Air pollution in at least 10 Iranian cities remains at an what health ministry officials have described as an “unhealthy” level. Despite this, the government has opposed a lockdown of Tehran, according to Abbas Shahsavani, head of the health ministry’s Air Safety and Climate Change Workgroup. “Based on studies done around the world, when we have air pollution the number of people going to hospitals increases after two weeks,” he said. Referring specifically to studies conducted in the three metropolitan areas of Tehran, Mashhad and Tabriz, Shahsavani added that “an increase of air pollution between six and 15 percent can increase the number coronavirus infections and fatalities.”

For several days, the situation in Mazandaran province has been deteriorating. Some cities in the province have reverted to a red state of alert. The coronavirus taskforce believes the increase in Covid-19 infections is partly due to the fact that it is orange and kiwi harvesting season. As a result, smaller towns and villages have witnessed greater numbers of infections.

Some media reports say the new, more contagious variant of coronavirus may have reached the Iranian Kurdistan.

A “Russian Vaccine” for €1,000

Meanwhile, it emerged that a “Russian vaccine” is being offered on the black market for 1,000 euros.

The newspaper Donya-e Eghtesad reported that the vaccine can be bought from vendors in Tehran’s Nasser Khosrow Avenue, where many drug wholesalers are located. “There is a vaccine in the black market but it is not clear whether it is genuine or fake,” the report said. “Druggists on Nasser Khosrow say in 10 days they are going to import the Chinese vaccine as well.”

The report points out that Iran has 8,574 kilometers of common borders with seven countries, making it easy to bring in drugs from other countries. “Today the coronavirus vaccine is perhaps one of the most valuable commodities in the world and, as of now, vaccines from Russia, China, Britain, Germany and US have received permission for export to various countries,” it reads. “In the United Arab Emirates and Turkey the Chines vaccine and in Saudi Arabia and Qatar the American and the German vaccines have already been distributed among high-risk groups.”

The Red Crescent Society of Iran is to import one million doses of the Chinese vaccine in coming weeks and it has been announced that American philanthropists have donated 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Iran.

Four More Volunteers Given the Iranian Vaccine

The first three volunteers who had been injected with the Iranian coronavirus vaccine Barekat CovIran have been deemed to be healthy and, therefore, four more volunteers were vaccinated on January 4, reported Hojatollah Niki Maleki, head of public relations for the Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive, a foundation that has been overseeing the development of the vaccine produced by Shifa Pharmed, part of a state-owned pharmaceutical conglomerate known as Barekat.

For the human trial of this vaccine 56 volunteers have been selected from among many people who came forward.

Iran Wire

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.