The first to receive the dose was the Minister of Health’s son. A way to dispel doubts and uncertainties among the population, reluctant to administer the Russian product. President of the Parliamentary Health Commission also against the Russian vaccine. The Islamic Republic intends to immunize at least 70% of the population.
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tehran has launched the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 at Imam Khomeini Hospital, using the Russian product Sputnik V. With a ceremony broadcast on state TV, the Minister of Health Saeed Namaki stressed that "the first person to receive the Russian Sputnik vaccine is my son".
The inaugural, and symbolic, day of vaccination was held on 8 February, but the campaign will be fully operational only in the next few days. Among the first to receive the dose will be health professionals in contact with patients positive for the new coronavirus, the elderly, the disabled and veterans.
The first supply of Sputnik V arrived in Tehran on February 4 and the Iranian authorities have assured that two more shipments are scheduled for February 18 and 28. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour explained that the Islamic Republic has purchased 2 million doses of the Russian vaccine so far.
The medical journal Lancet recently published a study on the effectiveness of Sputink V against the symptomatic evolution of Covid-19 registering it at 91.6%. However, part of the scientific community has doubts about the transparency and accuracy of the review.
Nevertheless, a fierce controversy has arisen in recent days around the Russian product, with the president of the Parliamentary Commission on Health refusing to receive the dose. Minister Namaki then added that the country will receive 4.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, purchased through the COVAX mechanism supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Islamic Republic is also working on the domestic production of a vaccine to immunize the entire population.
Tehran intends to vaccinate at least 70% of the population (over 80 million people in total); the goal by the end of the Iranian year, which ends on March 20, is to inoculate at least 1.4 million doses despite evident shortages of supplies on a global scale. Vaccines in Iran are administered free of charge to its citizens.
The new coronavirus has infected over 1.4 million people in Iran, the country most affected by the pandemic in the Middle East, and has killed nearly 59,000.