Hojjatollah Niki-Maleki, head of the public relations office of the Headquarters for Executing the Order of Imam Khomeini, which has produced the vaccine, said on Monday that the vaccine was injected to volunteers in the second phase, according to IRNA.
Last Tuesday, Iran carried out the first phase in the human trial of the vaccine after successfully completing the initial steps, including tests on animals, and obtaining the necessary approvals.
The vaccine, dubbed Coviran Barekat, and produced by Iranian experts at the Headquarters for Executing the Order of Imam Khomeini, was administered to three volunteers at a ceremony in Tehran, according to Press TV.
Iran is under illegal, inhumane sanctions imposed by the United States, which have hampered its access to medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, and complicated the process of importing vaccines from other countries.
However, Tehran is doing its utmost to import COVID-19 vaccine from other countries.
Legally, the shipment of medicines to Iran is not under sanctions, but the US administration has made it impossible for Iran to process payments from its Central Bank, or receive loans from the International Monetary Fund to pay for them. These financial sanctions have deterred international banks and suppliers of medicine from participating in any financial transactions for fear of becoming subject to secondary US sanctions imposed on their companies or banks.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday expressed hope that the countrywide vaccination for coronavirus would begin within the next weeks. Rouhani stressed the need to expedite the purchasing process of vaccine from foreign producers.
Following the government’s imposition of tough restrictions to stem the spread of the deadly virus since November 21, the daily death toll and cases have significantly decreased in recent weeks.
On Monday, Iran’s Health Ministry reported 110 deaths from the virus which has claimed the lives of 55,650 people in the country so far, IRNA reported.
The ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that 6,073 people tested positive for the virus from Sunday to Monday, bringing the total number of the new cases to 1,249,507.
She also said that four cities are still classified as “red” zones despite the government’s successful measures in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
Lari noted that the situation in the northern cities of Amol, Sari, Ramsar and Northern Savadkouh are red – the highest category in the country’s color-coded risk scale.
The ministry’s spokeswoman added that 43 cities are in orange situation while 401 cities are classified as yellow.
Iran has opted for a color-coded system of white for low-risk parts of the country, orange and yellow for medium-risk, and red for high-risk areas.