Iranian authorities say they have given emergency approval for a domestically developed vaccine against COVID-19 as the country battles the Middle East’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki told a press conference on June 14 that permission for the emergency use of the vaccine called COVIran Barekat was issued the previous day.
The move comes after the country is facing problems with importing enough vaccines.
The first study of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine developed by a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate Setad began in late December 2020.
A Setad official told state news agency IRNA that production of the vaccine had started in early June, with “around 3 million doses” produced so far.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 82,000 people in Iran, with over 3 million infected, according to official figures widely seen as understating the toll.
Iranian officials allege that U.S. sanctions have hampered the country’s efforts to inoculate its 83 million population. More than 4.3 million Iranians have received a first vaccine dose since February, but fewer than 1 million have received the two jabs necessary to be fully inoculated, according to the Health Ministry.