In its continued struggle against rising COVID-19 cases, Cuba became the first [country] in the world to vaccinate children from age 2, using domestically developed vaccines.
The communist island of 11.2 million people plans to inoculate all its children before reopening schools. Schools in Cuba have been closed since March 2020.
The new school year started Monday, but children have to learn via television programs, as most Cuban homes do not have internet access.
Having completed clinical trials on minors with its Abdala and Soberana COVID-19 vaccines, Cuba started its [vaccination campaign] for children Friday, starting with children at age 12 and older.
On Monday, Cuba started injecting vaccine for children at age 2-11 in the central province of Cienfuegos.
Several other countries in the world are vaccinating children from the age of 12, and some countries are conducting trials in 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 country to do so.
Chile on Monday approved the Chinese Sinovac vaccines for children at age 6-12.
The Cuban vaccines, the first vaccine developed in Latin America, have not undergone international and scientific peer review.
[Cuban vaccines] are based on recombinant protein technology – the same technology used by the United States’ Novavax and France’s Sanofi vaccines. These vaccines are also awaiting World Health Organization (WHO) approval.
Unlike many other vaccines in use, recombinant vaccines do not require storage at extreme cold temperature.
The majority of schools in Cuba have been closed since March 2020, and reopened for a few weeks at the end of last year before closing again in January 2021.
The government has announced schools will reopen gradually, in [October and November], but only after all children have been vaccinated.
United Nations agency UNICEF has called for schools worldwide to reopen as soon as possible, because “the long-term costs of closures are too high and hard to justify.”
Cuba has seen an explosion in COVID-19 infections in recent months, putting pressure on this country’s [health system].
Of the 5,700 deaths of coronavirus since the pandemic started, nearly half of the deaths happened in the last month alone.