Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi vowed on Tuesday his government would start rapid COVID-19 vaccinations to help relaunch an economy at the epicenter of the pandemic in the Middle East.
“The quickest general vaccination ... will be among our immediate programs from the first day of the government,” Raisi said in remarks carried live by state TV.
“Domestically produced vaccines, and if necessary those produced abroad (will be obtained) quickly ...so that people will feel at ease and the economy will flourish,” Raisi said in a speech in the holy Shi’ite Muslim city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran.
The government of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani has faced criticism for a slow vaccination drive, which officials have blamed on US sanctions hampering efforts to buy foreign vaccines and on delays in deliveries.
Iran will focus on using three locally made COVID-19 vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V and a vaccine jointly produced with Cuba, the current government’s spokesman, Ali Rabiei, said earlier on Tuesday. Raisi’s government takes over in early August.
Vaccinations with the COVIran Barakat vaccine, developed by a state-affiliated conglomerate, started this week, Rabiei was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying.
Iran, which has lost 83,217 of its population of 83 million to the virus, launched human trials of COVIran in December and has since started clinical trials of at least three other vaccines.
Rabiei said the Pasteurcovac vaccine, known as Soberana 2 in Cuba, is expected to be licensed for public use this week in Iran.
The joint Iranian-Cuban vaccine has been received by 24,000 people in clinical trials in Iran, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Twitter. Cuba said the vaccine had proved 62 percent effective with just two of its three doses.
“The domestically produced Sputnik V vaccine will enter general vaccination from next week,” Rabiei was quoted as saying. Iran announced plans in late March to launch domestic production of Sputnik V.
Iran says US criticism of election is interference in its affairsIran accused the United States on Tuesday of interference for saying its presidential election on Friday was neither free nor fair, Iranian state ... Middle East
Iran vote points to consolidation of hardline clergy’s hold on power: AnalystsA hardline victory in Iran’s presidential election has tilted the domestic balance of power toward the country’s anti-Western clergy and away from ... Features
Iran’s foreign policy will not be limited by 2015 nuclear deal: RaisiPresident-elect Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday Iran’s foreign policy will not be limited by its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, holding his ... Middle East
Iran gives emergency approval for locally-made COVID-19 ‘blessing’ vaccineIran said Monday it had given emergency approval for a domestically produced vaccine, as it battles the Middle East’s deadliest coronavirus ... Coronavirus