Cuba vaccinates children as young as two in strategy to reopen schools, economy

In September, Cuba grew to become the primary nation on this planet to start the mass vaccination of youngsters as younger as age 2 in opposition to Covid-19.

Whereas the coronavirus vaccines aren’t necessary, mother and father and kids have been filling clinics, hospitals and even transformed faculties to get the shot for his or her youngsters.

“I’m relieved,” Laura Tijeras mentioned simply minutes after her 4-year-old daughter Anisol bought the primary dose of Cuba’s home-grown Soberana, or Sovereign, vaccine. “Lots of people are nonetheless getting sick and with the vaccine. We’re extra protected.”

Throughout a single day at a policlínico in Havana, the place CNN and different media have been invited to movie the vaccinations, greater than 230 youngsters ages 3 to five have been vaccinated, the clinic’s administrator mentioned.

To place youngsters comfy, docs and nurses wore Mickey Mouse ears above their uniforms and introduced in a clown with a speaker system to carry out for them at full quantity.

Like adults receiving vaccinations, youngsters in Cuba would require three photographs earlier than they’re thought-about totally vaccinated.

With the arrival of the Delta variant in Cuba, instances amongst youngsters have skyrocketed.

“It is alarming the numbers of infections of the brand new coronavirus which have occurred in Cuba in the previous few months within the pediatric inhabitants,” wrote Cuban Well being Minister Jose Portal Miranda in an article on the federal government Cubadebate web site in September.

The Delta variant has caused skyrocketing cases among children in Cuba

“Most of the pediatric sufferers reported in severe or vital situation are newborns,” he wrote.

To date throughout the pandemic a minimum of 117,500 minors have been recognized with Covid in Cuba, in response to official statistics. The federal government has not mentioned what number of youngsters have died in Cuba throughout the pandemic. However for the reason that starting of August, 10 minors, youngsters and infants have been listed as having died in each day press briefings given by the Well being Ministry.

The spike in instances led Cuban officers to scrap plans to reopen faculties in early September. As dwelling web entry stays an costly luxurious for many Cubans, youngsters obtain their classes by watching an academic channel on TV. Many Cuban mother and father complain that their youngsters are being left behind at school, and with parks, film theaters and seashores closed, there may be nowhere to take them.

Cuban doctors voice rare criticism of government's Covid-19 handling

In September officers mentioned they’d start vaccinating youngsters as a part of a plan to have greater than 90% of the island immunized and reopen worldwide borders by mid-November. Officers mentioned it’s unlikely that they might restart faculties earlier than then.

“It isn’t a situation with the intention to attend our academic establishments when lessons renew to be vaccinated,” mentioned Vice Minister of Training Eugenio González Pérez on the Mesa Redonda TV program. “However we name on the Cuban household to vaccinate their youngsters. We’ve a vaccine that is 100% Cuban.”

Cuba’s drug regulator to this point has given approval for emergency utilization of three home-grown vaccines that Cuban scientists say are extremely efficient at stopping severe sickness and loss of life because of the coronavirus.

Whereas critics have complained of the Cuban authorities’s extreme secrecy regarding their program, final week Cuban scientists mentioned they’d begun to share information with the World Well being Group to obtain approval for his or her vaccines.

Cuban state-run vaccine producers initially anticipated to make sufficient doses for the island’s inhabitants of 11.2 million by September however later mentioned that shortages — they blamed on the US commerce embargo — had brought about them to fall wanting that aim.

A spike in cases led Cuban officials to scrap plans to reopen schools in early September

In August, because the pandemic raged uncontrolled in a number of provinces, Cuba for the primary time started utilizing China’s Sinopharm vaccine though it’s Iess efficient than the immune response Cuban scientists say their very own vaccines produce.

Some critics have mentioned that if there’s a scarcity of vaccines then Cuba ought to prioritize vaccinating in danger populations just like the aged and other people with pre-existing situations forward of kids.

However Cuban docs finishing up the vaccination marketing campaign on younger youngsters mentioned the elevated dangers confronted by youngsters needed to be addressed instantly.

“It is tougher, nevertheless it’s gratifying to vaccinate a toddler,” mentioned Dr. Auroly Otaño Orteaga. “You place the vaccine and you realize they’re going to be immunized and will not have severe issues and even die from Covid.”

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