Cuba launches Covid-Jabs for toddlers as a world first | World information
Cuba became the first country in the world to vaccinate children aged two and over against Covid-19 on Monday, using home-grown vaccinations that have not been recognized by the World Health Organization.
The communist island with 11.2 million inhabitants wants to vaccinate all of its children before the schools, which have largely been closed since March 2020, are reopened.
The new school year started on Monday, albeit from home via television programs, as most Cuban households do not have internet access.
After completing clinical trials on minors with its Abdala and Soberana vaccines, Cuba launched its vaccination campaign for children on Friday, starting with those 12 and older.
It started distributing jabs in the 2-11 age group in the central province of Cienfuegos on Monday.
Several other countries in the world are vaccinating children aged 12 and over, and some are conducting trials with younger children.
Countries like China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela have all announced plans to vaccinate younger children, but Cuba is the first to do so.
Chile approved the Chinese Sinovac vaccines for children between the ages of six and twelve on Monday.
The Cuban vaccines, which were first developed in Latin America, have not undergone any international scientific assessment.
They’re based on recombinant protein technology – the same one used by the U.S. Novavax and French Sanofi jabs, which are also awaiting approval from the WHO.
Unlike many other vaccines used, recombinant vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration.
The majority of schools in Cuba have been closed since March 2020 and will reopen for a few weeks late last year before closing again in January.
The government has announced that schools will gradually reopen in October and November, but not until all children are vaccinated.
The UN agency UNICEF called for schools around the world to be reopened as soon as possible because “the long-term costs of closings are too high and difficult to justify”.
Cuba has seen an explosion in coronavirus infections in the past few months, putting pressure on the healthcare system.
Of the 5,700 coronavirus deaths recorded since the outbreak began, nearly half occurred in the last month alone, as did nearly a third of all reported cases.
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