Iranians who refuse to be vaccinated will be handed heavy fines and forced to isolate, Iran’s National Anti-Coronavirus Taskforce has announced.
"The goal is to impose smart quarantines instead of shutting down all businesses to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and to restrict only those who carry the disease or have not been vaccinated," Mostafa Ghani, a member of the taskforce’s scientific committee, said on Tuesday, October 5. "People who do not get vaccinated will be subject to strict rules. The vaccine is now available so everyone should get vaccinated.”
Ghani rejected claims that the government was forcing people to get a Covid-19 jab. "But,” he clarified, “it does mean that if an individual does not get vaccinated, he or she will not be able to access services. Because he or she may be the cause of the disease spreading, they will be severely restricted."
He commended the taskforce's new strategy for protecting the population via a vaccine passports model, and said Covid passes would first be piloted in Qazvin province in the northwest of the country. It would be reliable, he said, because those individuals who had been vaccinated would still be tested regularly.
Ghani also spoke of a national database for vaccines that would allow people to be tracked, especially if they traveled outside of cities and towns where they lived and worked. “The national registration code and vehicle registration number of everyone who has received the vaccine is available on the system,” he said. “When a person who has not been vaccinated is in their car and passes one of these cameras, it will be possible to impose heavy fines on that person. People traveling who have had the vaccine will not be fined.”
Although Ghani spoke confidently of the new system the government had put in place, he was unclear on the details. "Of course, the fine amount and the type of restrictions will be announced gradually by the government, but currently the National Anti-Coronavirus Headquarters has agreed to pilot the project in Qazvin province, and the results should be published in the next one to two months," he said.
After months of disruption and delay, Iran’s vaccine roll-out is finally accelerating. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 898,000 doses of the vaccine were administered in Iran in the 24-hour period prior to the taskforce announcement.
So far, 42,449,726 people in Iran have received the first dose of the vaccine; 17,208,581 people have received two doses.
Despite this improvement in vaccination numbers, the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Iran is still high. As of the evening of October 5, 13,226 new cases had been identified and 216 people had died after contracting coronavirus.
Currently, 16 cities in the country are listed as being on “red” or emergency alert, 198 cities are listed as being “orange” or on high alert, 176 cities are “yellow” or on moderate alert, and 58 cities are considered to be “blue,” or on low alert.