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Cuba's success with Covid vaccine could boost hopes for progress in low-income countries

Cuba's success with Covid vaccine could boost hopes for progress in
Cuba has vaccinated a larger percentage of its population against Covid-19 than almost all of the world's largest and richest nations. In fact, only the UAE boasts a stronger vaccination record.

The communist-run small Caribbean island has achieved this by producing its own vaccine against Covid.

To date, about 86% of the Cuban population has been fully vaccinated against Covid in three doses, and another 7% have been partially vaccinated against the virus, according to official statistics compiled by 'Our World in Data'.

These figures include children as young as two years old who started receiving the vaccine a few months ago. The country's health authorities are applying booster vaccines to the entire population this month in a bid to limit the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant Covid.

The country of about 11 million people remains the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean that has produced its own vaccine for Covid.

Cuba's biotechnology sector has developed five different vaccines against Covid, including Abdala, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus, all of which offer over 90% protection against symptomatic Covid when three doses are given according to Cuba.

Cuba's vaccine clinical trial data have not yet undergone international scientific review by colleagues, although the country has engaged in two virtual exchanges of information with the World Health Organization to launch the Emergency Use List process for its vaccines.

Unlike US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna, which use mRNA technology, all Cuban vaccines are subunit protein vaccines, such as the Novavax vaccine. Essentially for low-income countries, they are cheap to produce, can be produced quickly, and do not require freezing or low temperatures to be stored.

Megjithatë, që kjo të realizohet, OBSH-ja duhet dhe mund të aprovojë vaksinat e Kubës. Procesi i verifikimit të OBSH-së përfshin vlerësimin e objekteve të prodhimit ku zhvillohen vaksinat, një pikë që zyrtarët shëndetësorë të Kubës thonë se ka ngadalësuar progresin.

Vicente Verez, kreu i Institutit të Vaksinave të Kubës Finlay, i tha Reuters muajin e kaluar se agjencia shëndetësore e OKB-së po vlerësonte objektet prodhuese të Kubës në një “standardi të botës së parë”. Miratimi nga OBSH do të ishte një hap i rëndësishëm për t’i bërë vaksinat të disponueshme në të gjithë botën.

‘Rëndësia e madhe’
Miratimi i mundshëm i OBSH-së për vaksinat e Kubës kundër Covid të prodhuara në nivel kombëtar do të kishte “një rëndësi të madhe” për vendet në zhvillim.

This, as it is important to keep in mind, is that vaccines do not require the very low temperatures that Pfizer and Moderna need, so there are places, especially in Africa, where they can not be stored for use.

Also Cuba, unlike other countries or pharmaceutical companies, has offered to engage in technology transfer to share its vaccine production expertise with low-income countries.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned last month that a "tsunami" of Covid cases triggered by the Omicron variant was "so big and so fast" that it had swept through health systems around the world.

Tedros reiterated his call for greater distribution of vaccines to help low-income countries vaccinate their populations.