Cuba to Finish Covid-19 Vaccination Rollout with Homegrown Vaccines

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  • TEMPO.COHavanaCuba has entered the final stretch of its COVID-19 immunization campaign with homegrown vaccines, while striving to develop more vaccines and assess the global use of its vaccines.

    The campaign is wrapping up following the government's decision to vaccinate over 5 million people, approximately half the population, against COVID-19 by the end of September, including children and adolescents.

    Cuba expects to have more than 90 percent of the country's more than 11 million inhabitants immunized by November, paving the way for the reopening of schools and relaxation of border control measures for incoming travelers.

    At present, Cuban scientists are in talks with experts from the World Health Organization to assess five Cuban-made COVID-19 vaccines for global use.

    So far, the Abdala, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus coronavirus vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by Cuba's Center for State Control of Medicines, Equipment, and Medical Devices.

    According to Cuban pharmaceutical authorities' announcement, the three-dose Abdala vaccine is 92.98 percent effective against COVID-19, while the combination of two doses of Soberana 02 and one dose of Soberana Plus is 91.2 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19.

    Cuban scientists continue to work on the development of a Soberana 01 COVID-19 vaccine and Mambisa, a nasal coronavirus vaccine candidate based on recombinant antigens.

    "We will move forward with Soberana 01 and Mambisa," said Rolando Perez, director of science and innovation at BioCubaFarma, Cuba's state-run biotech conglomerate gathering 21 research centers and 32 companies.

    These two COVID-19 vaccines could be used as boosters if required, or exported to different countries, said Perez.

    Cuba's government has accused the U.S. government of using its six-decade trade embargo against the island to block the Caribbean nation's access to raw materials to produce its domestic vaccines.

    Despite the obstacles, more than 70 percent of Cubans have received at least one dose of a locally made coronavirus vaccine.

    The Caribbean nation has logged 809,911 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,856 deaths from the disease since the pandemic first hit the country in March 2020.

    Read: Cuba to Test Visitors for Coronavirus, Limit Tourism to Keys