Cuba Vaccinating Toddlers As Young As Two For Covid-19
In an effort to get kids back into classrooms, the Cuban government has begun vaccinating toddlers as young as two for Covid-19, Cuba’s state media has reported.
Cuba is the first country in the world to give Covid-19 vaccines to toddlers after it declared its homegrown vaccines safe for young children. While other countries, including China and Chile, have approved the use of vaccines on young children, they have not begun vaccination drives for children yet.
Though the Cuban government initialy focused on vaccinating health care workers, the elderly and the hardest hit areas, a spike in child infections by the Delta variant forced the government to also prioritize vaccinating young children.
"With the rise in positive cases of Covid-19 in children, its necessary that the family protects itself more and so we are protecting our children and adolescents," said the island’s chief epidemiologist Dr. Francisco Duran Garcia.
Cuba is using Abdala and Soberana, its indigenous vaccines, to vaccinate children between the age of 2 and 18. The vaccination campaign for children above 12 kicked off on Friday, whilst for those between 2 and 11 began on Monday.
The vaccines have been declared safe for children at the trial stage by the Finlay Institute, which is a state-owned manufacturer that helped make the Soberana vaccine. According to Finlay Institute, the vaccines are more effective in minors than in adults, though both vaccines have not yet been recognised by the World Health Organisation.
Local scientists say the Cuban-made vaccines are safe and effective, though little data has been released to outside observers. However, the Cuban government said it will seek WHO approval for its vaccines. The government is also targeting to vaccinate over 90 percent of the population of 11.2 million people before reopening international borders in mid-November.