News ID: 91709
Publish Date : 25 June 2021 - 21:42

Leader Receives First Dose of COVIran Barakat

TEHRAN – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei received his first dose of a homegrown Covid-19 vaccine on Friday amid an effort by the country to speed up its vaccination rollout.
National TV showed Ayatollah Khamenei, 82, receiving the COVIran Barakat vaccine, developed by a state-affiliated conglomerate and approved for public use earlier this month.
Iran, with a population of 83 million, has recorded 83,588 deaths from coronavirus. The government of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani has blamed a so-far slow vaccination drive on U.S. sanctions hampering efforts to buy foreign vaccines and on delays in deliveries.
The country launched human trials of COVIran in December and has since started clinical trials of at least three other vaccines.
Officials say Iran is speeding up its vaccination drive using imported vaccines as well as COVIran Barakat, Russia’s Sputnik V which is being made locally and a vaccine jointly produced with Cuba.
Iran is also participating in the COVAX scheme, run by the GAVI vaccine alliance and the World Health Organization, that aims to secure fair access to vaccines for poorer countries.
Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions that Washington reimposed on Tehran in 2018 after President Donald Trump walked away from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
But the U.S. measures, which target sectors including oil and financial activities, have deterred foreign banks from processing financial transactions with Iran. Tehran says this has frequently disrupted efforts to import essential medicines and other humanitarian items.
Ayatollah Khamenei received the vaccine two days after his official website announced that he would receive the CovIran Barekat vaccine within days.
Khamenei.ir carried the report on Wednesday, citing Dr. Alireza Marandi, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“The Leader lays especial emphasis on the use of Iranian vaccine. This vaccine is the result of young Iranian scientists’ endeavor and enjoys a high immunization level,” Marandi said.
He said Ayatollah Khamenei did not have any objection to receiving vaccination from the onset of the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.
But he set two conditions, insisting not to receive the vaccine out of turn and to receive only Iranian vaccines, Marandi said.
“Therefore, once the vaccination process involving Iranians above 80 years of age began, the Leader refused to receive foreign vaccine and waited for the Iranian one,” the official stated.
After receiving the vaccine Friday, the Leader thanked all those involved in the development of the homegrown vaccine.
“I did not want to use non-Iranian vaccines, so I said I would wait for the Iranian vaccine, because we should respect this national honor. As long as there is a possibility of prevention and treatment inside the country, why shouldn’t we use it?” the Leader said.
“Of course, when needed, the use of foreign vaccines along with Iranian vaccines is not a problem, but we must respect the Iranian vaccine and thank all the young scientists who worked hard and actively in the production of this vaccine as well as other centers that are developing vaccines in the country.”