Cuba will start vaccinating with its own vaccines

Cuba will begin next week to vaccinate its population with vaccines developed on the island but still in the experimental phase, authorities announced Friday evening.

The communist country is the only Latin American country to currently have five vaccines in development. The campaign, which will start with Havana and the provinces of Santiago de Cuba (south) and Matanzas (center), will use the two most advanced.

These two vaccines, Abdala and Soberana 2, are administered in three doses.

“We believe we will succeed in having vaccinated 22% of the population in June, 33% in July and 70% in August,” said Minister of Health José Angel Portal.

The first vaccinations will serve as a real large-scale trial, with the hope that this will allow the approval of these vaccines in June, he said.

The Abdala vaccine has completed its third and final phase of clinical trials, the results of which are being analyzed, and Soberana 2 is expected to conclude its final phase of trials in mid-May.

A nurse injects a dose of the Cuban vaccine Soberana 2 to a volunteer during the experimental phase III, March 31, 2021 in Havana (AFP / Archives – Joaquín HERNANDEZ)

In the coming weeks, “perhaps as early as June” if the results “are favorable and correspond to what is expected, we will be able to give the emergency authorization, and we can then start a mass vaccination, ”explained Olga Lidia Jacobo, director of Cecmed, the administration responsible for approving drugs.

Cuba, which has 11.2 million inhabitants, has recently recorded an increase in Covid cases, but remains very little affected compared to other Latin American countries, with a total since the start of the pandemic of 114,000 cases. and 713 dead.

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