2021-09-23 21:35:26 Cuba Will Reach ‘Full Immunization’ By Dec. 31, Leader Tells U.N.

Cuba Will Reach ‘Full Immunization’ By Dec. 31, Leader Tells U.N.

Cuba expects to reach “full immunization” against Covid-19 by the end of the year using its own vaccines, according to the president of the island nation whose 11 million citizens have long been isolated by the American embargo, who spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

President Miguel Daz-Canel Bermdez spent much of his recorded speech railing against the United States for what he called its policies of economic coercion and deprivation, which he claimed were designed to “erase the Cuban revolution from the political map of the world.”

But he also praised Cuba’s medical and scientific communities for their “heroic achievements” in developing vaccines to combat the pandemic. He claims that more than one-third of the Cuban population has been fully immunized.

“We expect to achieve full immunization by the end of 2021, which will allow us to advance in the fight against the new pandemic outbreak,” Mr. Diaz-Canel said.

Cuba has been particularly hard hit recently by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which sent new case reports skyrocketing over the summer and exacerbated shortages of basic medical supplies in the country. In July, a lack of medicines, medical oxygen, and coronavirus tests heightened social tensions and sparked anti-government protests. Last month, Mexico sent oxygen to Cuba, and activists in the United States sent two million syringes to the island.

As proud as the Cuban government is of its vaccines, the World Health Organization has yet to approve them. Data from the vaccines’ clinical trials have yet to be published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Nonetheless, Cuba’s claimed self-sufficiency in vaccinating against Covid-19 stands out in the global landscape of vaccination inequality, where the majority of vaccine doses made thus far have gone to the most affluent nations, while many people in poorer countries have yet to receive their first doses.

This month, Cuba began immunizing children as young as two against the coronavirus, making it the only country to do so thus far.

The decision was made against the backdrop of prolonged school closures in Cuba for the majority of the pandemic, which has caused enormous frustration among parents. Because of the high cost of internet access in Cuba, online learning is not a viable option.

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Cuba Will Reach 'Full Immunization' By Dec. 31, Leader Tells U.N.