COVID-19 vaccine: Cuba becomes first country to start vaccination for toddlers

The children in Cuba from the age of 2 are being vaccinated with home-grown jabs which are not recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Created On: Sep 7, 2021 10:41 IST
Cuba vaccinates children
Cuba vaccinates children

Cuba became the first country in the world on September 6, 2021, to vaccinate toddlers with the COVID-19 vaccine. The children in Cuba from the age of 2 are being vaccinated with home-grown jabs which are not recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Cuba with a population of 11.2 million people aims at vaccinating all its children. The move is significant before the government decides to reopen the schools that have been closed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in March 2020.

Cuban government started the new school year from September 6. It commenced from home via television programs, as most of the homes in the communist country do not have internet access.

COVID-19 vaccine in Cuba for toddlers:

After completing the trials on minors with its Abdala and Soberana COVID-19 vaccines, the government of Cuba started its vaccination campaign for children on September 3, 2021, starting with those 12 years and older.

On September 6, the communist island nation began distributing jabs in the 2-11 age group in the Central province of Cienfuegos.

How effective is Cuba’s home-grown vaccine?

Cuba had informed in June 2021, that its three-shot Abdala Vaccine, in its last-stage clinical trials, had proved to be 92.28% effective against Coronavirus.

The announcement by the Cuban government had come after it announced that it's another homegrown vaccine, Soberana 2, was 62% effective with just two of its doses.

Even though Cuba’s home vaccines are not approved by the World Health Organisation, the country refused to import COVID vaccines and decided to rely on their own.

Cuba’s home-grown vaccines have not also undergone any form of scientific and international peer review. The vaccines are the first developed in Latin America.

The vaccines are based on the same recombinant technology which is also used by France’s Sanofi and United States’ NOVAVAX, which are also waiting for the WHO's approval.

Other countries on COVID vaccination of children:

Several other nations around the world have been vaccinating from the age of 12, while some have been conducting trials in younger kids.

Chile on September 6 gave its approval to China’s Sinovac vaccines for children aged between 6 and 12.

Other developed nations such as United Arab Emirates, China, and Venezuela had also announced their plans of vaccinating younger children, however, Cuba became the first country to do so.

Cuba’s plans of reopening the schools:

The Cuban government had announced the closure of the majority of schools in the country since March 2020. The schools reopened for few weeks at the end of 2020 but were closed again in January 2021.

Now, the communist government has announced that the schools in the country will reopen again gradually in October and November 2021.

However, it further added that it will only be after all the children in the country have been vaccinated.

United Nations agency, UNICEF also called for the schools to reopen worldwide as soon as possible, as the long-term effects of closures is too high and very hard to justify.

COVID-19 cases in Cuba:

The communist island nation has seen an explosion of COVID-19 cases in recent months, which has put the country’s health system under pressure.

Of the 5,700 deaths that have been recorded in Cuba ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, nearly half of them were in August 2021 alone, as were almost a third of all reported cases.

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