1211 GMT June 15, 2021
Iran launched the second phase in the human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Defense Ministry’s research center, formerly headed by nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated last year.
The process began on Wednesday, with the administration of the vaccine dubbed Fakhra to the spouse of Dariush Rezaeinejad, a young Iranian scientist who was assassinated in July 2011, Press TV reported.
The official in charge of Fakhra’s clinical trial said 135 volunteers got jabs in the first phase, adding that the vaccine proved to be “safe and secure”.
“The second phase kicks off with the injection of the vaccine to the wife of Martyr Rezaeinejad and, at this stage, 500 people will get jabs,” he noted. “The second phase will be summed up in the next two months.”
Speaking at Wednesday’s event, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi hailed the Fakhra vaccine as an “extraordinary and stunning” product of the Iranian Armed Forces which has brought honor to the country.
“In the entire world, there are a limited number of states that are able to make vaccines. Fortunately, Iran has now joined these countries by producing several vaccines,” he said.
In addition to Fakhra, Iran has developed three other vaccines against the COVID-19 disease named COVIran Barekat, Razi COV-Pars and the joint Iran-Cuba vaccine.
An Iranian deputy health minister also dismissed concerns about a shortage of coronavirus vaccines for a second round of injections, saying supplies will be ready for people who received a first dose as of next working week, beginning Saturday.
“We ensure coronavirus vaccine supplies will be available for a second shot next week and there is no particular concern about that,” said Alireza Raeisi on Tuesday.
The comments come amid reports in recent days showing that vaccination centers in several Iranian cities have canceled second dose injections that are used to maximize protection against the coronavirus.
Raeisi blamed the cancelations on a global shortage of vaccines as well as on certain foreign suppliers, including on COVAX, a vaccine pooling scheme which is sponsored by the World Health Organization.
Iran has imported foreign vaccines despite the illegal US sanctions that have seriously hampered the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Import of Russian vaccine
The ninth batch of the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, including 100,000 doses, was delivered to the Iranian Embassy in Moscow on Wednesday to be transferred to Iran, according to IRNA.
So far, 900,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine have been delivered to Iran by Russia.
Iran and Russia signed a contract in February 2020 for the purchase of two million doses of Sputnik V vaccine and another contract for buying 60 million doses was signed late last month, which is scheduled to be sent to Iran from June to December.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been approved by the health ministries of 60 countries. More than 30 countries have already begun vaccinating their nations with this vaccine.
Russian officials have announced that the test of the Sputnik V corona vaccine on 3.8 million people has worked positively, up to 97.6%.
Iran on Wednesday reported 157 fatalities from COVID-19 in 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 81,519.
The Health Ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that 10,598 people tested positive for the coronavirus, from Tuesday to Wednesday, putting the total number of new cases at 2,990,714.