HAVANA, September 15 (Hfrance.fr) - Cuba will ask the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday for approval of three COVID-19 vaccines, according to the state company that produces them, while it begins administering mass injections to toddlers.
Rolando Perez Rodriguez, director of research and development at BioCubaFarma, made the announcement during 'a discussion broadcast by state media on Tuesday evening of a vaccination campaign that aims to immunize more than 90% of the population by November.
" There has already been some interaction in Havana and at the Geneva office, "said Perez. " Now begins a procedure and an exchange to assess the documentationprovided. "
The communist-ruled Caribbean island is vaccinating its population at one of the fastest rates in the world with local drugs Abdala, Soberana-2 and Soberana Plus, all cleared for emergency use by local regulators amid a wave of Delta variants that have strained its healthcare system.
Cuba is the only Caribbean country to have developed its own vaccine against the virus. Over 65% of Cubans have currently received at least one injection and 37% have been fully immunized with three injections, according to the Ministry of Health.
The country claims that its vaccines are more than 90% effective and the initial results are similar to those of other leading vaccines, dramatically reducing transmission, serious illness and death, although critics have complained that these resultsStates have not yet been peer reviewed.
The vaccination campaign includes children as young as two with toddlers across the country. countries that are expected to receive the first of two vaccines from Thursday, said Dr Maria Elena Soto, head of the Ministry of Public Health, on the same broadcast, to become the first in the world under the age of six to be vaccinated in mass.
Vaccines are based on traditional technology used to immunize young children for decades, compared to new genetically modified vaccines, giving them safety proven "The pedigree " in addition to clinical trials, said the Cuban company and local health officials.
Over the past week , Cuba recorded an average of about 7,500 cases per day and nearly 80 deaths, down significantly from ita month ago but still one of the highest rates in the world in terms of cases per 100,000 population. About 20% of cases have been recorded in people under the age of 20.
The country suffers from shortages of everything from food and medicine to parts and inputs for electricity, plants and agriculture, due to the shutdown of the tourism industry, severe US sanctions and its own inefficiencies.
He hopes to tame the disease in time for the tourist season, which begins in November, and to export the vaccines.
Soberana-2 is already produced in Iran, and Vietnam says it could buy and produce Abdala.
Mexico, which will host Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel later this week and a regional summit this weekend focused on the pandemic, has said it wants produce the mediacaments.
Perez said on Tuesday night's broadcast that Cuba will export vaccines after meeting local needs and approval of WHO "would help to open up new opportunities in the international market.
Cuba claims to have the capacity to produce 100 million vaccines per year, of which at least 30 million would be needed at home. Report by Marc Frank; Edited by Steve Orlofsky
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