EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said Iran is planning to speed up its vaccination program after it receives more doses of vaccines this week to halt the spread of the outbreak.
“Over the course of this week and the next, more doses of vaccines will arrive into the country, leading to faster vaccinations,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by his website.
During the weekly National Coronavirus Headquarters meeting, the president also cautioned against travelling in the upcoming New Year holidays (starting March 21) by saying, “The danger of fourth wave is ever present.”
According to Alireza Raiesi, spokesman of the headquarters, 1.26 million vaccines have been delivered to Iran so far, including 410,000 shots of Russia’s Sputnik V, 240,000 jabs of China’s Sinopharm, 100,000 from Cuba and 125,000 doses from India’s Bharat Biotech, along with 375,000 shots, that will arrive on Monday.
“We have an extensive plan for the inoculation of healthcare personnel and vulnerable groups,” the health official said, noting that over one million Iranians will be vaccinated against the deadly disease before the start of the Iranian New Year.
Iran is scheduled to soon receive over one million doses of AstraZeneca under COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization, attempting to secure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for poor and middle-income countries.
Barkat Clinical Trials
To accelerate the pace of clinical trials, Iran’s first experimental Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoV Iran Barkat, will combine the second and third phases of human trials.
Hamed Hosseini, the head of the team behind the clinical trials, said they’re hoping to get the greenlight to launch the second and third phases on Sunday.
The first phase of human testing concluded successfully two weeks ago, with initial results promising a 90% efficacy rate for the homegrown vaccine.
Two shots of CoV Iran Barkat needs to be administered with a 28-day gap before the body’s immune system can fight back the coronavirus.
Iran is racing to vaccinate priority groups before a surge in cases, as the more contagious British variant of the virus spreads across the country.
Raeisi said the British strain has been detected in 28 out of Iran’s 31 provinces, sparking fears that a fourth wave of the disease is imminent.
Some 7,800 contracted the contagious virus within 24 hours, taking the total tally of cases to 1.739 million, spokeswoman of the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, told ISNA on Saturday.
“Over the past 24 hours, 73 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, bringing the national death toll to 61,142.”
Lari said more than 1.48 million Iranians have recovered from the respiratory illness and 3,830 are currently hospitalized in ICU units.
“Iran has carried out over 11.65 million diagnostic tests since the start of the pandemic,” she added.
Worldwide, Covid-19 infections increased to 119.7 million on Saturday and fatalities caused by the viral infections rose to 2.65 million.