March 17, 2021 – 07:58
Iran says its ability to make coronavirus vaccines shows that it is self-sufficient.
“Just as we were forced to produce the missiles ourselves, we also produced the coronavirus vaccine,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on March 15, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
Iran’s coronavirus vaccines are still being tested and have not received any official approval.
Moreover, Iran has already purchased vaccines from Russia, China and India.
Authorities there say healthcare workers and those with chronic illnesses are currently being immunized with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
An Iranian vaccine, about which some details have emerged, is called Fakhra.
The name comes from the late nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed near Tehran in November.
Fakhra was reportedly discovered for the first time on Tuesday, when her clinical trial began. The ceremony was attended by senior officials, including Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki.
The minister vowed that Iran would soon become a “world leader” in the production of vaccines against COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus.
One of Fakhrizadeh’s two sons, Hamed Fakhrizadeh, became the first volunteer to receive the dose of the Fakhra vaccine, which was produced by the Ministry of Defense’s Defense Innovation and Research Organization.
The department was previously headed by Fakhrizadeh. Israeli agents have been blamed for his killing.
An official claimed that Fakhra was “100 percent safe”, while the Iranian government said it had about 20,000 volunteers to test it.
The Ministry of Health said it would vaccinate all Iranian adults by September – a goal many see as overly optimistic.
Iran began human trials of at least two of its own vaccines last year.
According to official figures, about 1.76 Iranians have been infected with the coronavirus and nearly 61,500 have died.
The actual number of people infected and dying from the pandemic is likely to be two or three times higher, say some officials and experts.
Iranian officials say they have so far received 410,000 doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine, 250,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine and 125,000 doses of India’s COVAXIN vaccine.
Tehran has also received 100,000 doses of the unapproved Cuban vaccine, Soberana-02, which will be administered to 100,000 people in the third phase of its testing.
About 375,000 doses of COVAXIN are expected to arrive in Iran on Wednesday, bringing the number of vaccines imported to 1.26 million.
Despite the ban on US and British vaccines by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iranian health officials said in early February that the country would provide over 4 million doses of the vaccine to British-Swedish company AstraZeneca through the COVAX project. of the World Health Organization.
COVAX is an initiative aimed at distributing coronavirus vaccines in developing countries.
The use of AstraZeneca vaccines is currently being suspended by some European countries, due to reports that the vaccine has caused blood clots in some individuals.
Iranian officials have said they expect to import, in total, over 16 million doses of vaccines from COVAX, which could immunize nearly 10 percent of the estimated 84 million Iranian citizens.
Mostafa Ghanei, director of the Scientific Commission at Iran’s National Headquarters for Combating Coronavirus, said in an interview in February that Iran would need 160 million doses of vaccine to bring the pandemic under control.
Speaking on March 15, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said Western countries were stockpiling vaccines “three times more than they need.”
He has accused the United States of blocking Iran’s access to vaccines, through sanctions and financial restrictions imposed by former US President Donald Trump.
“Can those who have prevented the transfer of our money to buy vaccines say they have learned the lesson for humanity?” Zarif asked, but did not mention Khamenei’s ban on Western-made vaccines.
Khamenei has said that vaccines made in the US and Britain are “incredible”, while his chief of staff, Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, has falsely claimed that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has killed several people.