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Iran begins trials for domestically produced vaccine

Iran is also reportedly importing the Pfizer vaccine amid pressure from citizens as the virus continues to spread.
A health worker prepares an injection for a woman during the first trial phase of a locally-made Iranian vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Iran's capital Tehran on December 29, 2020. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Iran has begun human trials for a domestically produced coronavirus vaccine. The country continues to struggle with containing the virus, but relief by way of vaccinations could come soon.

Two people received the vaccine and are staying at a hotel in the capital Tehran, the state-run Tasnim News Agency reported on Tuesday. Dozens more are scheduled to receive the vaccine as part of the trial, according to the outlet.

Iran was one of the first countries to experience a large outbreak of COVID-19 and the virus has continued to spread in the country since the start of the year. The Health Ministry reported 6,108 new cases in the last 24 hours on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 1,212,000. There have also been nearly 55,000 deaths in Iran's population of more than 80 million.

Obtaining a vaccine is a pressing issue in Iran. This month, Iranians initiated a campaign to pressure the government to buy vaccines. The government will reportedly import 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Iranian officials regularly say that US sanctions on the country hinder their ability to obtain vaccines, though the United States disputes the claim.

The vaccine was developed by scientists at the Headquarters for Executing the Order of Imam Khomeini. The agency can produce 1.5 million doses in the next 40 days if the trials prove successful, Tasnim reported.

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