“I didn’t want to use a non-Iranian vaccine. I said we will wait until, inshallah, the local vaccine is produced and we can use our own vaccine,” he said.
Saying that they "cannot be trusted," the supreme leader in January outlawed the use of United States and United Kingdom-made vaccines, notably those developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
The recently concluded human trials on the COVIran Barekat vaccine began in December 2020 and nearly 24,000 volunteers received jabs as part of its phase III clinical trials.
Expected to be rolled out on a large scale in the coming weeks, the vaccine received emergency use authorization earlier this month.
Setad, the foundation under the supreme leader's direction in charge of developing the vaccine, said it currently produces three million doses per month and will soon boost production to 11 million doses a month, becoming the largest vaccine manufacturer in the Middle East.
COVIran's developers claimed the vaccine is 93.5 percent effective among individuals 18 to 75 in its second phase of human trials.
They also said that 12 countries from Asia, South America and Europe wish to buy the vaccine, without yet naming them.
Iran recently controlled a fourth deadly wave of COVID-19 that has to date taken the lives of 83,000 people in what has become the deadliest pandemic throughout the Middle East.
Iran's leader receives a dose of Iran's unique #COVIRAN Barekat #COVID19 vaccine, an inactivated virus type vax. Since February 2021 #Iran, with the worst epidemic in the Middle East, has been using Russian, Chinese and British vax and has industrialised Cuba's #Soberana02https://t.co/kcUPQ1sdlE
Iran has imported millions of doses of foreign vaccines, yet it counts on the local vaccine to inoculate most of its 83 million population.
Iran's vaccine dosis have mainly been imported from Russia, China, India, and through the global vaccine initiative under the World Health Organization, COVAX.
However, United States sanctions have created money transfer issues, and thus imports have lagged, resulting in a slow vaccination effort and significant gaps between administering first and second doses.
According to the latest figures from Iran's health ministry, just over five percent of the total population has been vaccinated.
COVIran Barekat will be rolled out soon while several other locally developed vaccines are in various stages of development.
A vaccine developed by Iran’s Pasteur Institute in collaboration with Cuba, for example, is finishing its third phase of human trials in several cities across Iran, and should receive an emergency use authorisation soon. Cuba has reported it to be 62 percent effective after two doses.
Iran's Health Minister Saeed Namaki also stated earlier this week that Iran will reveal its locally produced version of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine this Saturday. The country started its vaccination efforts with the Russian jab in February.