Cuba, on Monday, started vaccinating children above the age of 2 against COVID-19, becoming the first country to do so. The country is using home-grown vaccines, which are not recognised by the World Health Organization.
Several other nations have started vaccinating children above the age of 12. Schools in Cuba reopened on Monday, but, lessons are being broadcast via television as most Cuban homes do not have television access. Schools in the communist nation have been shut since March 2020. Authorities aim to inoculate all children so that schools can be reopened. Cuban authorities hope to reopen schools in October and November.
China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela have announced they plan to vaccinate younger children, but Cuba is the first to do so, an AFP report reads.
Over the last seven days, Cuba has recorded an average of 7,000 new cases every day. Cuba so has reported 696,904 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5,788 deaths. On Monday, Chile approved the Sinovac vaccine for children between six and 12. The vaccine developed in Cuba has not undergone any international scientific peer review.
Cuba also hopes to restart its tourism industry. The government started distributing jabs for children between ages 2- 11 in the province of Cienfuegos
UNICEF has called for schools worldwide to reopen as soon as possible, as “the long-term costs of closures are too high and hard to justify”.
The director-general of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Monday, said, “As the experience with this pandemic shows, no country can let down its guard. Complacency can be as dangerous as the virus itself. We must continue to be vigilant.”
Ghebreyesus has been asking countries to prioritise distributing the vaccines to countries where only 1 or 2 per cent of the population have been vaccinated.