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Cuba to Give Covid Vaccines to 2-Year-Olds

Cuba will start vaccinating kids as younger as 2 in opposition to the coronavirus this week, making it the one nation up to now to immunize kids that younger.

The US and plenty of European nations at the moment permit Covid-19 vaccinations for youngsters 12 and older. U.S. regulators may authorize a vaccine for youngsters 5 to 12 later this yr.

Chile has begun vaccinating kids 6 and older. China and the United Arab Emirates are actually vaccinating kids as younger as 3.

Cuba’s well being regulator, the Heart for State Management of Medicines and Medical Units, authorized pediatric vaccination originally of September. Final week, the nation began immunizing 13- to 17-year-olds.

Coronavirus circumstances are skyrocketing in Cuba because the Delta variant spreads quickly throughout the island. Cuba has just lately been reporting a median of 70 new infections a day for each 100,000 residents, one of many highest charges within the Western Hemisphere.

Cuban kids are being immunized with Soberana 2 and Soberana Plus, two domestically developed vaccines. Scientific trials in adults, and to a restricted extent in kids, have proven that the mixture is greater than 90 p.c efficient at defending in opposition to the coronavirus, Cuban officers have stated. However knowledge from the trials haven’t been revealed in peer-reviewed worldwide journals.

Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of the Pan American Well being Group, a division of the World Well being Group, referred to as on Cuba in June to “publish the information in a clear means.”

“There’s a variety of issues going for it, there’s a want, and they’re utilizing established know-how,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the Nationwide Faculty of Tropical Drugs at Baylor Faculty of Drugs, stated in regards to the Cuban program. “However I’m involved in regards to the degree of regulatory oversight.”

Cuban scientists stated that they’ve submitted papers to peer-reviewed journals, and are awaiting publication. They burdened that the Soberana vaccines use a know-how much like the one already in use in Cuba’s vaccines in opposition to different ailments.

“This isn’t an RNA vaccine, with no historical past, being administered to kids,” stated Dr. Vicente Vérez, the lead developer of the vaccines.

Early trials in kids have proven solely routine negative effects and “a excessive diploma of security, which is what’s most vital,” stated Dr. José Moya, the Pan American Well being Group consultant in Cuba.

Colleges in Cuba have been closed by way of many of the pandemic, and the excessive value of web entry has made on-line studying not possible for most kids. Officers and annoyed mother and father are eager to get kids again to high school, however the reopening of school rooms has been postponed repeatedly.

To date, 56 p.c of Cuba’s inhabitants has acquired a minimum of one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 37 p.c are totally vaccinated. The nation’s well being ministry goals to vaccinate greater than 90 p.c of the inhabitants by December.

The pandemic has pushed Cuba’s vaunted well being system to the breaking level. A scarcity of medicines, medical oxygen and coronavirus checks have elevated social tensions, prompting anti-government protests in July. Mexico shipped provides of oxygen to Cuba final month, and activists in the USA despatched two million syringes.

U.S. financial sanctions imposed in the course of the Trump administration have slowed vaccination efforts by making it extra difficult and costly to import supplies. Manufacturing of Soberana 2 was halted for weeks within the spring when provides of a significant part dwindled, Dr. Vérez stated.

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