EghtesadOnline: During an event celebrating the launch of clinical trials for a sixth local Covid-19 vaccine, Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Sunday said Iran could begin exporting Covid-19 vaccines in a few months after enough of its population is immunized against the viral infection.
“Not only will Iran face no more vaccine shortages, but it can also launch exports over the next few months,” Namaki was quoted as saying by IRNA.
He added, “Iran can donate Covid-19 vaccines to low-income nations in a few months’ time.”
Iran’s sixth coronavirus vaccine, dubbed Noora, was developed by Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. The vaccine’s test results on mice, rabbits and monkeys have proven successful.
Iran is on fast track to inoculate its population of 80 million people with local vaccines after vaccine-manufacturing companies failed to supply the jabs Iran had pre-purchased.
The Health Ministry has approved emergency use for COV-Iran Barekat and it is expected to give the greenlight to a second homegrown vaccine by the end of the week.
So far, 4.420 million Iranians have received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 1.288 million have been fully vaccinated against the contagion, bringing the number of shots administered to 5.708 million.
Some 14 million people were supposed to be vaccinated against the respiratory illness by July but supply shortages impeded vaccine rollout. The Health Ministry is planning to inoculate 80 million people by March 2022.
Fifth Wave Triggered
Iran is at risk of being hit with the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in less than a month as the outbreak’s downward trend came to a halt.
Secretary for the national coronavirus science committee, Atefeh Abedini, warned that the current number of cases and deaths could lead to a fifth wave of the disease in less than a month.
“During the fourth peak, more than 80% of cases were caused by the British mutation, but the Indian strain is dominant now,” Abedini said.
India’s coronavirus variants, Delta and Delta Plus, have sparked fears around the world as they can spread 40% to 80% faster than the British strain, which was highly contagious itself, compared to the original coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.
Over 9,700 new patients were diagnosed with the coronavirus on Sunday, taking the national tally of cases to 3.167 million. Some 135 patients lost their lives to the disease, bringing the total toll to 83,845.