Last week, I got my second shot of COVID-19 Vaccination, COVIran Barekat of Shifa Pharmed Co. The main alternative types of COVID vaccines in Iran are Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, and Barekat respectively.
The rate of vaccination
Vaccination for COVID-19 started in Iran at the beginning of 2021. At first, the healthcare staff in hospitals and clinics were in priority to get vaccinated. Then, the elders who were over their 80s were invited and the other age groups one after another.
Unfortunately, the rate of vaccination was not quick enough to avoid the fifth deadly wave of disease in the country during the summer. Vaccination was not offered for my age group until September. But it was accelerated since then. Now everyone older than 12 years old can get their shot everywhere on the streets without tolerating a considerable queue and the elderly are recommended to receive their 3rd dose.
COVID Vaccination is not literally mandatory in Iran, but the limitations have been put for non-receivers in the recent month. For example, the civil servants and government employees, anyone who wants to attend the stadiums and gyms, and all the flight travelers must have their own vaccination certificate. However, these obligations are not seriously operated yet.
On the other hand, objections against mandatory vaccination have emerged recently. Some of the opponents argue that the vaccines are not reliable because their required studies are not yet finished. The others oppose especially the imported brands as they believe they might be ways for the world power to fulfill biological wars against the other countries. There are also some people who believe there are effective remedies for the disease in our traditional medicine that must be priorities to modern vaccination. Anyhow, national surveys show that less than 30 percent have not gotten their COVID vaccinations among which only 5 percent say they never want to do so even in the future.
Vaccination R&D in Iran
Iran has been one of the largest vaccine producers in the region for decades. Nearly all the children receive 7 different required types of vaccines for free in their hometown –presenting the evidence is required for school registration. It made Iranian companies move ahead also in research and development for the COVID vaccines.
Barekat was the first-mover brand that got its emergency use authorization in April 2021. Razi Cov Pars, Pasteurcovac (Iran-Cuba) -used for the under 18 teenagers-, Spikogen (Australia-Iran), and Fakhravac are the other Iranian vaccines now used in the country. Despite the high technology used in some of these vaccines, the production capacities are still much less than the requirements in the country. Right now, among the 100M doses given, only about 15M were made in Iran.