By Gustavo A Maranges
May 10, 2022 from Havana
Not satisfied with this tremendous achievement, the Cuban health system is about to start vaccinating children under the age of two, stated the Director of Research at Finlay Vaccine Institute Dagmar García. This is the only age group that remains unvaccinated and accounts for 3% of the pediatric population (114,434 kids).
Regarding child vaccination, Cuba is a step ahead of the rest of the world, ever since their first authorized vaccine, Soberana 02, was developed by Finlay Vaccines Institute, a scientific laboratory specialized in pediatric vaccines. Thus, clinical trials with infants started as early as July 2021, speeding up the trial period enormously. The initial trials will take place in Cienfuegos and Camagüey Province before being expanded to the rest of the country.
So far Cuban doctors have been protecting kids under the age of two by vaccinating pregnant women, since they transmit their immunologic defenses to the babies. The efficiency of this strategy has been high ever since not a single kid or pregnant woman has died after being vaccinated.
The new campaign is planned to have three stages based on age groups. First from 12 to 24 months, then from 6 to 12 months, and finally from 0 to 6 months. However, the Cuban regulatory body is still analyzing the data before issuing any authorization, doctor Garcia said. At the same time, another group of scientists is evaluating the use of another Cuban vaccine, Abdala, in kids under two. The results have been excellent so far, but sometime should pass before arriving at a conclusive decision.
Cuba is by far the country with the best child vaccination performance in the world. The three Cuban vaccines can be used in children over two years old, something that Moderna and Pfizer are still investigating. Cuba became the first country in the world to vaccinate children and teenagers between two and eighteen years old. To date, only 418 children out of 1.9 million remain unvaccinated for different reasons. On top of that, almost 50% of the pediatric population have received a booster dose.
Looking at this, it is really twisted the way the US is punishing Cuba when it could be cooperating with the island, at least about an important issue concerning child health. If people in the US only new that an island country 90 miles away could help solve vaccinating and protecting recent new born babies wouldn’t they be for it?
But it has become abundantly evident during this long winter of Covid-19 that corporations’ interests are more important than lives and to recognize this bold new initiative of Cuba would break from the US narrative that depicts socialism as a complete failure.
Cubans are willing to share with everybody in the world their knowledge and experience as they have done with Nicaragua, Venezuela, and over 50 countries, where they sent medical aid. However, the neoliberal hegemon and its ambassadors, the politicians, will never accept it. Cuba and the US have much to offer each other, but as long as the bilateral policy remains in the niche of power of a few this reality can only get worse.
Cuba does not have the resources that developed countries like the United States, Russia, China, India, and European countries. But what Cuba does have is will. The Cuban system is designed to save people, not mega- pharmaceutical corporations like Moderna and Pfizer. The key issue here is about a strong public health system that holds quality care as its goal not profit margins.
-Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English