Havana, Cuba – On Friday, the Cuban authorities launched a nationwide campaign to vaccinate children aged 2-18 years against COVID-19, a prerequisite for the reopening of schools by the Communist government in the face of a surge in infections.
Children 12 years and older will receive one of the two domestic vaccines, Abdala and Soberana, first, followed by younger children.
Since March 2020, most schools in Cuba have been closed, and students have been listening to TV courses. Starting the school year on Monday, they will continue to study remotely until all eligible children are vaccinated.
Laura Lantigua, 17, received the first of three injections at Saul Delgado High School in Havana, Cuba.
“I always wanted to get vaccinated,” Lantigua told AFP. She said that the doctor measured her blood pressure and temperature before giving her the injection, and then told her to wait an hour to make sure she did not have any side effects.
“I feel normal and fine,” Lantigua said.
Late Friday, the Drug Administration (Cecmed) announced that it authorized the emergency use of Soberana 2 vaccine for minors between the ages of 2 and 18.
The composition of the Cuban vaccine is not recognized by the World Health Organization. It is based on recombinant protein and is based on the same technology used by the US company Novavax.
With the delta variant spreading on 11.2 million islands, the country’s healthcare system has been pushed to the edge.
Of the 5,300 deaths from the novel coronavirus recorded since the outbreak, nearly half occurred in August, and almost one-third of all reported cases occurred in August.
The government stated that it plans to gradually reopen schools for face-to-face teaching in October after the children’s vaccination campaign is completed.