COVID vaccination for children: Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of toddlers 

Cuba decided to begin mass vaccination of children after the number of children being infected with COVID-19 rose sharply following the spread of Delta Variant in the country. 

Created On: Sep 20, 2021 14:10 IST
 Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of toddlers 
Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of toddlers 

COVID vaccination for children: Cuba has become the first country in the world to begin the mass vaccination of children as young as 2 years old against COVID-19 with its homegrown vaccines. While the vaccination is not mandatory, parents have been lining up at clinics and hospitals and makeshift vaccination centres to get a shot for their children. 

Over 230 children aged between 3-5 years were vaccinated at a clinic in Havana in a single day. The doctors and nurses reportedly wore cartoon character costumes to make the children feel comfortable. 

Cuba decided to begin mass vaccination of children after the number of children being infected with COVID-19 rose sharply following the spread of Delta Variant in the country. The children in Cuba will have to get three vaccine shots to be fully vaccinated similar to the adults. 

Cuban Health Minister Jose Portal Miranda wrote in an article in September "It's alarming the numbers of infections of the new coronavirus that have occurred in Cuba in the last few months in the pediatric population."

COVID-19 in Children 

As per official Cuban statistics, at least 117,500 children were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection in Cuba. Several children also reportedly succumbed to the virus in the country since August though the numbers have not been confirmed. 

The Cuban officials informed in early September that they will begin vaccinating children as part of the nation's elaborate plan of vaccinating more than 90 percent of the population before reopening international borders by mid-November. The schools will also remain shut in the nation till then. 

Cuban vaccination programme 

So far, Cuba's drug regulator has approved three home-grown vaccines for emergency use in the nation-Abdala, Soberana and Mambisa. All three vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death as a result of the coronavirus, as per Cuban scientists. 

Cuba had begun vaccinating its population with two of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines -Abdala and Soberana 2 - before it even decided to seek the approval of the World Health Organisation. 

Also read: Cuba’s Soberana 2 COVID-19 Vaccine – What is conjugate vaccine and how does it work?

Cuba has not bought or sought vaccines from anywhere else and aims to vaccinate its entire population with its own vaccines before the year ends. So far, more than half of Cuba's total population has received at least one shot of the three-shot vaccines. The vaccines have reportedly shown efficacy above 90 percent. 

Amid criticism of excessive secrecy concerning their program, the Cuban scientists said last week that they have begun sharing data with the World Health Organization to receive approval for their vaccines.

Cuba said that it would seek WHO approval for two of its COVID-19 vaccines-Abdala and Soberana 2 and a vetting process is expected to start soon, during which the experts will examine the vaccines' safety, efficacy and immunogenicity.

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