As countries all over the world do their best to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba has made the monumental decision to start injecting the COVID-19 vaccine into toddlers. As per PhilStarLife.com, with this decision, Cuba became the first country in the world to vaccinate children from the age of two against COVID-19, using home-grown jabs not recognized by the World Health Organization.
Cuba aims to inoculate its children ahead of the reopening of the new school year. Like the Philippines, Cuban schools have been closed for the most part since March 2020.
Having completed clinical trials on minors with its Abdala and Soberana vaccines, Cuba kicked off its inoculation campaign for children on Friday, September 3, starting with those 12 and older. Recently, Cuba started distributing jabs in the 2-11 age group in the central province of Cienfuegos.
Several other countries around the world have been vaccinating children from the age of 12, and some are conducting trials on younger kids. Countries such as China, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela have announced they plan to vaccinate younger children, but Cuba is the first to do so.
However, Cuban vaccines, the first developed in Latin America, have not undergone international, scientific peer review. They are based on recombinant protein technology — the same used by the United States’ Novavax and France’s Sanofi jabs also awaiting WHO approval. Unlike many other shots in use, recombinant vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration.
To put things into perspective, the communist country has seen an explosion in coronavirus infections in recent months, putting pressure on its health system. Of the 5,700 coronavirus deaths recorded since the outbreak started, nearly half were in the last month alone, as were almost a third of all reported cases.