News ID: 302670
Published: 0148 GMT May 01, 2021

Rouhani: Efforts underway to import COVID vaccines despite US obstacles

Rouhani: Efforts underway to import COVID vaccines despite US obstacles
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses a meeting the National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus in Tehran on May 1, 2021. ‎

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his administration has been allocating foreign currency resources for importing COVID-19 vaccines although US unilateral sanctions have impeded financial transactions.

The government is determined to cope with the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in spite of all problems that have hindered the allocation and transfer of foreign currency resources to and from the country, Rouhani said at a meeting of the National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus on Saturday, Tasnim News Agency reported.

“It is correct that the Vienna negotiations have made good progress, but we are still under [US] sanctions and the previous obstacles are still ahead of us,” the president added.

Since a few days ago, Iran and the remaining signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Tehran and the P5+1 in July 2015, have renewed efforts to revive the nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew in May 2018 and reimposed its unilateral sanctions — including banking ones — on the Islamic Republic, through negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

He said the Iranian administration has provided the required foreign currency resources despite all of the problems and is transferring money as shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are being imported.

Rouhani gave the assurance that his administration fully supports the purchase of foreign vaccines and development of the homemade jabs.

The president listed the government’s top priorities as saving the lives of the people, breaking the chain of the disease’s transmission, improving Iranians’ livelihoods and supporting the education programs for students.

Iran is working on at least four homemade COVID-19 vaccines, two of which are in their third clinical trial phases and are expected to enter mass production within the next couple of weeks.

The country has also imported several consignments of vaccines, including seven batches of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.

Last Sunday, the country launched the third and final phase of the clinical trial of its first indigenously-developed coronavirus vaccine at a ceremony in the capital Tehran.   

The jab dubbed, COVIran Barakat, was injected to three volunteers that included Dr. Minoo Mohraz, a member of Iran’s coronavirus task force, Hossein Ali Shahriari, the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Health Committee, and Ali Akbar Amirzargar, a professor of immunology at Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

COVIran Barakat, is produced by Shifa Pharmed Industrial Group, which has been involved in the large-scale production of antibiotics and penicillin since its founding in 1995.

It is part of Barakat Foundation, which is owned by the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order.

In addition, on Saturday, the clinical trial phase of the other homemade COVID-19 vaccine, being jointly developed by Pasteur Institute of Iran and Cuba's Finlay Vaccine Institute, was started in a ceremony, IRNA reported.

In an address to the ceremony, Dr. Alireza Biglari, the head of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, said given the favorable trend reflected by the vaccine’s development, one million dose of the jab are expected to be produced by May 22.

He added in case of the domestic health authorities’ confirmation, the mass production of the vaccine will begin as of June 22, with a monthly production of one million doses.


Infections, deaths


The Health Ministry announced on Saturday that the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Iran since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in late February 2020 exceeded 72,000, according to Tasnim News Agency.

Providing the country’s latest COVID-19 statistics, the Health Ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Saturday that the pandemic claimed 332 lives over the past 24 hours.

She put at 72,090 the exact COVID-19 death toll in the country.

Lari said the total number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Iran surpassed 2,516,000 after the detection of 17,080 new cases since yesterday.

More than 1,971,000 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across Iran, she noted.

Among those currently undergoing treatment in Iranian medical centers, 5,421 are in critical conditions, the spokeswoman regretted.

She said more than 15.96 million coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in Iran and over 889,000 people have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The number of people infected with COVID-19 across the world has surpassed 151 million, with the death toll exceeding 3.17 million.




Resource: Tasnim News Agency
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