TEHRAN -- Iranian Health Ministry has authorized the emergency use of the second domestic COVID-19 vaccine, the Pasteur Vaccine, Tasnim news agency reported Wednesday quoting Health Minister Saeed Namaki.
The Health Ministry reported 11,748 new COVID-19 cases, raising the country’s total infections to 3,204,557.
The pandemic has so far claimed 84,264 lives in Iran, up by 137 in the past 24 hours, it said.
A total of 2,876,828 people have recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across the country, while 3,183 remain in intensive care units, according to the ministry.
By Wednesday, 4,436,083 people had received first dose of coronavirus vaccines in the country, with 1,596,507 taking both.
On June 14, Iran announced the emergency use of its first domestic COVID-19 vaccine COVIran Barakat.
Facing a series of inhumane sanctions imposed by the United States, the Iranian government has mostly relied on home-grown capacities to tackle one of the harshest outbreaks of the COVID-19 disease in the Middle East.
The country, which has been subjected to four decades of sanctions, has now joined a few countries in making its own COVID-19 vaccine and is developing several home-made jabs.
The homemade coronavirus vaccines produced by Iran’s scientists are “a great achievement,” Ehsan Mohebbi, senior vice president for international business development at Tadbir Group, told Press TV’s Spotlight program on Tuesday.
He said the U.S. economic sanctions against Iran during the pandemic helped Iranians grow self-reliant and creative.
“Terrorism is not just about killing innocent people in a country, which of course the United States is an expert on that. We have more other types of terrorism, more dangerous, more inhumane, which is economic terrorism,” Mohebbi said.
Mohebbi recalled the early days of the coronavirus spread in Iran.
“The United States blocked all of our assets in other countries. We couldn’t buy hospital equipment,
not even a ventilator or a box of masks. They made serious sanctions on us, but, also with all that heavy sanctions which they called maximum pressure we believed in ourselves. We activated our internal capacity, we relied on our scientists and with this big achievement, we joined six countries of vaccine creators in the world,” he said.
Mohebbi said the development of homemade COVID-19 vaccines is “a great achievement” not only for Iran but the entire Muslim world, stressing that the main lesson is that countries under sanctions should never give up and they should believe in their own capabilities.
Iran, he said, has great scientists, who worked hard round the clock to develop these vaccines despite all the limitations they faced.
Mohebbi also said the fact that Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has received the Iranian vaccine has a very important lesson for everyone, which is “we should reach independence in various subjects.”
The official criticized the Group of Seven major industrialized countries for not providing other affected nations with vaccines, saying their claims that they have provided billions of vaccines to poor countries is just a “show-off.”
He also gave assurances that Iran will provide other countries with assistance and will start supplying other countries with vaccines as soon as its own population is immunized.
Hassan Jalili, manager of COVIran Barekat Vaccine Project, the other panelist on the program, said that the United States sanctions against Iran slowed down the process of developing vaccines by the country but never stopped it from achieving its goal.
He explained that in order to conduct the quality test, Iran needed certain kits which did not exist inside the country, and given the difficulties of obtaining them from abroad, they had to be manufactured domestically.
“We studied the methods used for remanufacturing the kits and by making use of the heath protocols, we developed those methods. Therefore, the sanctions did not stop us. Perhaps the sanctions slowed down the process but there was another feature with regard to these sanctions. Despite the hardships that we had, we managed to produce many products domestically and that developed our knowledge and that led to indigenizing these sciences in these fields,” he said.
“We had to acquire advanced knowledge and in order to carry out the tests we had to equip ourselves with advanced knowledge and we did so. The production and development of vaccines brought about other achievements for the country as well. It deepened many applied scientific disciplines and developed them,” he added.