0725 GMT September 18, 2021
Iran’s Defense Ministry will produce and hand over 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed Fakhra, developed by its research center to the Health Ministry by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2022).
Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammadreza Ashtiani made the remark in an address to a Monday ceremony to begin the third clinical trial phase of the homemade jab, which was also attended by Health Minister Bahram Einollahi, IRNA wrote.
Ashtiani gave the assurance that the vaccine’s production will reach five million doses per month within 90 days.
He added that one million doses of the jab have already been delivered to the Health Ministry.
The minister also described the production of vaccines as a kind of military exercise for the Armed Forces in the fight against potential viruses that may threaten the country in the future.
Addressing the same ceremony, Health Minister Einollahi said Fakhra is a high-quality and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
He added, “At present, given the urgency we are faced with regarding the speedy vaccination of the people against COVID-19, we have to resort to imports. The public vaccination process is being undergone swiftly in the country in view of the large number of doses we have imported.”
Einollahi said it was a “great honor for us that Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei was inoculated against the disease with an Iranian vaccine”.
Ayatollah Khamenei received two doses of the COVIran Barekat vaccine, the first homemade COVID-19 jab developed by Barakat Foundation, in June and July.
In the ceremony, Reza Allahveran, the head of the Defense Ministry’s department of health, relief and treatment, received a dose of the vaccine to kick off the third phase, Press TV reported.
The vaccine has been named Fakhra after the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the former head of the ministry’s research center, who was assassinated last year. Israel has been suspected of assassinating several Iranian scientists since 2010.
During the third phase of the clinical trial, which is expected to be concluded in three months, 40,000 volunteers will receive the Fakhra vaccine.
“We hope that soon, by completing part of the third clinical trial phase, we would receive the emergency use authorization for the Fakhra vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration and be able to deliver the produced jabs to the Health Ministry, to be included in the national vaccination basket,” Allahveran said.
As many as 135 people received the jab during the first phase of the clinical trial, which began on March 16. In the second phase, beginning on June 9, 500 people received the vaccine.
Fakhra is an inactivated virus vaccine, which is administered in two doses, 14 days apart.
Iran’s public vaccination process has gained greater momentum over the past few weeks in view of the rise in imports and domestic production, setting new daily records.
The country has received several COVID-19 vaccine batches from Russia (Sputnik V), China (Sinopharm), Japan (AstraZeneca) and India (COVAXIN). In addition to Fakhra and COVIran Barekat, Iran has developed other COVID vaccines, including a jab named Soberana 2 or PastoCoVac (Cuba’s Instituto Finlay de Vacunas and Iran’s Pasteur Institute), one dubbed Noura (the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps) and Razi Cov Pars (Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute).
According to figures by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Sinopharm accounts for the biggest share (37,529,596 doses) of the country’s jab purchases.
On Monday, Dr. Alireza Zali, the head of the anti-coronavirus task force of the Iranian capital of Tehran, said greater diversity will be reflected by COVID-19 vaccines available in the country’s public inoculation centers.
He noted that the country’s COVID-19 jab imports have increased over the past few days.
Zali said twelve 24-hour vaccination centers have been launched in Tehran.
Iran once again broke its daily vaccination record in the 24-hour period to Monday, administering 1,590,205 doses of COVID-19 jabs, according to the latest figures by the Health Ministry.
According to the ministry, 36,637,348 doses of COVID-19 jabs have so far been administered in the country. In addition, 24,144,750 people have received their first dose of the jab; while 12,492,598 individuals have been given two doses.
Iran’s Health Ministry announced in a statement on Monday that the country’s daily COVID-19 deaths and infections reached 448 and 22,541, respectively, in the past 24 hours.
The statement added the total COVID-19 death toll and infections since the beginning of the outbreak in the country in late February 2020 stand at 114,759 and 5,318,327, respectively.
It added that 7,206 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition, and of the newly-detected cases, 3,163 individuals have been hospitalized.
The ministry said 4,597,215 COVID-19 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or have been discharged from hospitals.
The statement added 30,337,329 coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in the country.
The Health Ministry said 168 cities in the country are coded red (very high-risk), while 209 are in the orange zone (high-risk).
The number of the country’s yellow (medium-risk) cities is 71, according to the ministry.
Iran has been grappling with a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic since a few weeks ago, mainly sparked by the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant, known as Delta, seeing a resurgence in deaths and infections.