Cuba announced on 13 September that it would begin administering its own COVID-19 vaccinations to children under the age of two, despite vaccines not yet recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the Voice of America, the announcement was made through Cuba’s state-run media, and the country aims to vaccinate at least 90 percent of the population.
About 38.7 percent of Cuba’s population has been fully vaccinated, about 4.39 million people. According to government figures, more than 64 percent of the population has received at least one vaccination shot.
However, the communist country has seen an increase in the number of coronavirus infections in recent months, and has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the world.
It reported a record-high 268,259 new cases and 2,545 deaths in August alone, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which is tracking the pandemic.
“The number of coronavirus infections occurring in Cuba in the pediatric population in recent months is worrying,” Health Minister Jose ngel Portal Miranda said in an op-ed published in the official government news site CubeDebt earlier this month. “What is extremely worrying is that there has been a daily increase in the number of babies testing positive for COVID-19.”
According to the Health Minister, 117,500 minors have been diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pandemic. Of those babies, more than 7,660 were less than a year old.
The health minister said that throughout 2020, 58 children below the age of one year were reportedly infected with COVID-19, but the figure rose to 84 between February 1 and 15, 2021.
He said studies are still being done to determine how the virus affects minors, but that research has shown that children under one year of age are more severely affected by the virus than older children. The risk of getting sick may be higher.
The country said preliminary results showed that domestic vaccines, Abdala and Sobrana-2, are similar to some of the world’s top vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, which reduce transmission rates, serious illness and death.
Although both have been approved by local regulators, relying on limited clinical data on efficacy, which were tested on 350 minors between the ages of 3 and 18 years, they have not yet found an international cohort. -Not reviewed, reports The Chronicle.
Despite this, the Cuban government is keen to bring children back to school, as most Cuban homes do not have internet access and children have relied on learning through television programs since March 2020, when schools were closed, VOA Note.
Children aged 2-18 years will receive the Sobrana-2 vaccine while adults will receive Abdala. Both vaccines require two shots and a third booster shot.
“Our children are dying, getting serious disease,” said Finlay Institute director Dr. Vicente Verez Bencomo in a video conference hosted by Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. “We are vaccinating children so we are getting closer to the point where community immunity is established.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times