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Iran enters third trial phase of domestic coronavirus vaccine

Iran-made vaccines may be available this summer as cases continue to rise despite lockdown measures.
An Iranian health worker injects university professor Mahnaz Rasouli-Nejad with a dose of a locally made Iranian COVID-19 vaccine during the second phase of trials in the capital, Tehran, on March 15, 2021.

Iran is nearing completion of a domestically produced vaccine for the coronavirus, according to state-affiliated media. A nationwide vaccine campaign for the public could still be several weeks away, however, as cases continue to rise despite lockdown measures.

The COVIran Barekat vaccine entered its third trial phase on April 25. The current phase consists of a human trial involving more than 20,000 people in various cities, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency. Previous trial phases showed the vaccine to be successful, according to officials.

The joint Iranian-Cuban Pasteur vaccine’s third trial also began on April 26 in Isfahan province, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iranian-made vaccines will be available to the public in late spring or early summer, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported today.

So far, vaccinations in Iran have been limited to participants in such trials and medical workers. The Islamic Republic administered doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to medical staff working in intensive care units in February.

Iranian officials have made mixed statements on their plans to purchase vaccine doses from abroad. On April 8, Rouhani accused the United States of pressuring countries to not sell vaccines to Iran. Two days earlier, Al Jazeera reported that Iran obtained 700,000 doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine through the World Health Organization. However, in January, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned importing vaccines from the United Kingdom and the United States. The AstraZeneca purchase news appeared to contradict this.

Iran reported 21,713 new COVID-19 cases today and 433 deaths among its population of more than 80 million, Fars reported. On April 14, Iran recorded an all-time high of more than 25,000 cases in a day, according to Worldometer.

Lockdowns throughout the year have failed to stop the virus’ spread. The entire country entered into a partial lockdown on April 10 that is still ongoing, also according to Fars.

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