EghtesadOnline: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei was the recipient of a dose of the first Iranian Covid-19 vaccine on Friday morning.
After getting the shot, Ayatollah Khamenei expressed gratitude to the team behind the development of the vaccine and called it a “national pride”, leader.ir reported.
Pointing to repeated calls for early vaccination, the Leader said, “I was firstly not willing to use a non-Iranian vaccine, so I said I’ll wait for the Iranian vaccine.”
“Because we need to cherish this national treasure,” he added. “[Secondly,] when there’s a chance of prevention and treatment inside the country, why not use it?”
The first Iranian Covid-19 vaccine, dubbed COV-Iran Barekat, obtained emergency use authorization from the Health Ministry one week ago. The local vaccine was developed by Barekat Pharmaceutical Group, affiliated with the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO).
Ayatollah Khamenei said, “In addition to insisting on receiving an Iranian vaccine, I urged to wait for my turn to get the shot.” Most Iranians over the age of 80, same as the Leader, have already been immunized against the disease with a Covid-19 vaccine.
Ayatollah Khamenei concluded his remarks by calling for the publication of trial data and studies on the vaccine for the rest of the world.
EIKO is set to produce some ten million jabs of the vaccine before the end of summer. After enough Iranians are inoculated, EIKO is hoping to export its product to other countries in need of outbreak containment.
Iran is now among the six nations in the world capable of manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines.
So far, 1.127 million Iranians have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and some 4.415 million people have received the first dose of a vaccine, bringing the total of shots administered to 5.542 million.
Iran’s vaccine rollout has faced multiple delays since its onset in late February due to supply shortages. Health authorities are ramping up vaccination efforts to stave off a fifth wave of the outbreak.
Reports collected by the Health Ministry on Friday showed the spread of the coronavirus from southern regions to central parts of the country.
According to the announcement, starting Saturday, 32 cities in southern and central areas of Iran will be placed on red alert.
Iran has been monitoring its southern and eastern borders in the last few months to prevent the entry of India’s double mutant Covid variant, a highly contagious strain.
Over 10,800 patients were diagnosed with the coronavirus on Friday, taking the national tally of cases to 3.150 million. Over the past 24 hours, 115 more patients lost their lives to the viral infection, bringing the death toll to 83,588.
Some 174 cities across the country are color-coded as orange and 242 are coded as yellow.
The number of worldwide Covid-19 cases rose to 180.8 million on Friday and fatalities caused by the infectious disease reached 3.91 million.