The nation of 11.2 million people is speeding up childhood immunizations so that schools can be safely reopened soon. Schools in Cuba have been largely closed since March 2020, having been open for a few weeks late last year before closing again in January this year.
The new school year in Cuba began on September 6 through television programs, as most Cuban families do not have an Internet connection. The Cuban government announced that schools will reopen gradually in October and November but only after all children are vaccinated.
Cuba has become the first country in the world to give the Covid-19 vaccine to children aged 2 to 11 years old. Photo: Prensa Latina
On September 6, Cuba began to vaccinate children from 2 to 11 years old against Covid-19 in the central province of Cienfuegos.
Previously, Cuba began a campaign to vaccinate children 12 years and older from September 3, after completing clinical trials on adolescents with domestic vaccines, Abdala and Soberana.
Health Ministry official Ileana Morales Suarez told Associates Times that the above campaign is like vaccinating children every year, taking place at thousands of clinics and family health services across the country. The Finlay Institute said the trial in children showed that Cuba’s self-developed vaccine is safe and also provides higher immunity than adults.
Cuba has seen an explosion in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent months, putting pressure on the health system. Of the approximately 5,700 deaths recorded since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 50% were recorded in the last month alone.
Last week, Cuba reported more than 7,000 new cases and 80 deaths per day on average.
On September 5, Cuba recorded more than 7,000 new cases, of which Pinar del Río province had the most Covid-19 cases with 1,531 cases, followed by Holguín (1172), Sancti Spíritus (905) and Las Tunas (748). The number of deaths on September 5 was 85.
Although the figures are down significantly from a few weeks ago, Cuba is still one of the countries with a high rate of disease per 100,000 people. Up to now, according to the statistics page worldometersCuba recorded nearly 670,000 infections, 5,788 deaths from Covid-19.
As of September 3, more than 50% of the more than 11.2 million Cubans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than 4 million fully vaccinated. The country is working to immunize more than 90% of its population by December.
Also on September 6, Chile approved China’s Sinovac vaccine for children aged 6-12. As expected, the health agency will deploy vaccination programs for children right at schools.
Chile is one of the leading countries in Latin America in large-scale Covid-19 vaccination for people. Since the launch of the vaccination scheme in early February this year, to date, more than 13 million people aged 12 and over have completed two prescribed injections, equivalent to 86% of the population.
In addition, about 1.8 million Chileans who received 2 doses of Sinovac received the 3rd dose of AstraZeneca.
Chile currently records about 1.6 million cases of Covid-19, including 37,108 deaths. The number of new cases has dropped sharply in the past 2 months. On September 6, this South American country recorded only 435 new cases and 18 deaths.
Several other countries such as China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela have also announced plans to vaccinate children under 12 years of age.