Cuba: The Vanguard in Child Vaccination

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera on September 9, 2021

photo: Karina Rodriguez Martinez

This week Cuba became the first country in the world to undertake a massive vaccination campaign against covid-19 in children from 2 to 11 years of age, by starting it with this age group in the province of Cienfuegos. In fact, everything indicates that it will be the first country to vaccinate children under 12 years of age.  The island has vast experience in the production and invention of vaccines and in carrying out large-scale child vaccination campaigns. As early as 1962 it carried out the first successful effort to inoculate its entire pediatric population against poliomyelitis. Since then, it has offered a free mass annual inoculation program that has eliminated, in addition to polio, six other vaccine-preventable diseases, including rubella, measles and mumps. Between February and March 2021 – at the height of the pandemic – 400,000 children were vaccinated against polio.

The initiative to use its vaccines against covid for pediatric use is now -like everything Cuba does- under attack by counterrevolutionary mouthpieces, including CNN in Spanish, which is professionally null and void. Once again they lie, slander and, as always, they will end up making fools of themselves.  The great truth is that behind Cuban vaccines there is enormous wisdom and creativity of the selfless collectives that make up its biomedical research centers, many of them young women and men who have given the best of themselves to create them and have the necessary quantities ready on time. Cuba is about two months away from achieving almost total vaccination of its inhabitants with its own biologicals of proven quality and it is moving just to imagine how it has been possible with a reinforced blockade, with hardly any international credit lines, with its tourism industry almost at zero for the last 18 months, without being able to access the U.S. drug market. Dr. Yuri Valdés Balbín, deputy director of the prestigious Finlay Vaccine Institute, explains: “We have achieved it by having a country like the one we have and by having interconnected capacities”.  He refers with admiration to the plant workers who have been working for months with total dedication and adds: “Our institute and Cuban vaccinology have been working, for many years, on pediatric platforms, and when covid arrives, when we have to make vaccines, and then we set up on those pediatric platforms. This is a very important and decisive element, because most of the most internationally applied and advanced vaccines in the world today are not based on pediatric platforms”.

Of course, in the case of covid-19, the inoculation goal also covers the entire Cuban adult population. At its current daily rate of injections per 100 inhabitants -more than four times the world average-, the Caribbean country, which began vaccination on May 12 of this year, should be very close today to reaching 15 million doses into people who have received at least one of the three doses of the Cuban vaccines. As of September 6, Cuba has 52.1% of its population has received one dose, 43.1% with two and 37.5% with the complete scheme.   “Before May 12, the clinical trials with a limited number of volunteers and the studies on health workers, who numbered just over 100,000, had been carried out, but the bulk of the more than 14,000,000 doses given have been given since that date,” says Dr. Ileana Morales Suarez, director of Science and Technological Innovation of the Ministry of Public Health, which gives an idea of the speed with which vaccination has been carried out on the island.

As has been reported in this space, Cuba already has three vaccines:  Soberana 02, Soberana 03 and Soberana Plus, approved for emergency use by the Center for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices (CECMED).  It also has two vaccine candidates still in the clinical trial phase: Soberana 01 and Mambisa. The latter is administered nasally. The vaccination schedule foresees concluding the inoculation of the entire population over 2 years of age in November this year. Cuba has the enormous advantage of the trust and admiration felt by the people towards its health personnel and scientific centers. There is a culture of vaccination and inoculation that is not an object of questioning by the vast majority, even if it hurts the mercenary fifth column and their friends in Miami. This feat of Cuban science and social system will allow tourism to resume and the country to resume other activities without running great risks, as long as the biosecurity measures are maintained, as President Miguel Díaz-Canel insists.

Source: La Pupila Insomne translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English