Iran Rolls Out Boosters for Over 18s to Avert New Virus Surge

Iran Rolls Out Boosters for Over 18s to Avert New Virus Surge
Iran Rolls Out Boosters for Over 18s to Avert New Virus Surge

The Health Ministry urged all Iranians over the age of 18 to get booster shots to reduce the imminent threat of a sixth wave of infections driven by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Deputy Health Minister Kamal Heydari said on Monday that the ministry is now giving third shots to anyone over 18 years old to further build immunity against the virus, IRNA reported.
“Those over the age of 18 who received their second shot three to four months ago are eligible for the booster shot,” Heydari said.
In the early hours of Sunday, Iran detected its first case of the highly mutated and extremely contagious Omicron, formally known as B.1.1.529.
The mutation has sparked global fear and put several European countries once again under full lockdown as it ravages throughout the world.
Heydari noted, “Some 85 nations, excluding Iran, have identified the variant, it is spreading much faster than the Delta variant.”
According to the health official, Omicron’s transmission rate is three to five times higher than Delta but that it is less deadly.



Full Alert 

Health Minister Bahram Einollahi declared full alert on Monday and ordered all hospitals and health centers to be prepared for another wave as Omicron cases can double every 1.5 days.
“The first step is to complete vaccinations, the first and most important approach against Omicron is inoculation,” the minister said.
Iran has administered over 114 million doses to its population of 85 million people. More than 87% have been given a first dose, and 76% have been fully vaccinated.
After the first case of Omicron, found in a middle-aged man who had recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates, the national Covid-19 science committee convened for an emergency meeting.
Members recommended that schools close down and all public places of business, including wedding halls, universities and gyms pause operations for at least the next four weeks.
President Ebrahim Raisi was briefed on the variant of concern hours later in the meeting of the National Coronavirus Headquarters.
During the meeting, restaurants and wedding halls were advised to strictly follow health protocols and personnel to wear facemasks. 
The public were also advised to adhere to social distancing rules and avoid gathering in crowded places.
Officials were especially concerned over Yalda celebrations held all around the country on Tuesday night, when families will gather in enclosed spaces for long hours. 

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