Cuba Is Moving Closer To Controlling the Pandemic

By Alejandra Garcia on February 15, 2022, from Havana

photo: Ismael Batista

Two years ago, when COVID-19 broke out, we had no idea that it would be the most traumatic experience that every country in the world would have to live through, and that it would hit especially hard those nations with low resources, such as this small Caribbean island.

As soon as the first cases began to be reported, the great powers started a dispute to see which one would develop the first vaccine and which one would get to horde the most money for it. In that race, the neediest were left out. The vaccination gaps in that competition led to the emergence of new and more contagious variants, which made the pandemic last longer than expected.

Against this backdrop, Cuba achieved the impossible. It set out to develop its own immunizers and succeeded in creating not one, but five candidates. It knew that no rich country would prioritize this little piece of land with 11 million inhabitants.

This was no miracle. The scientific community and the country’s authorities from the beginning had no rest. Their main motivation was to ensure that no one in Cuba was left behind. Today, two years later, the countless hours of sleeplessness paid off.

During the most recent wave of the Omicron variant, new cases in Cuba did not exceed or even come close to the previous peak caused by the Delta strain. This result contrasts sharply with most other countries in the world.

Cuba’s peak number of cases before the recent wave was reached around August 2021, while the vaccination campaign was just kicking off. However, during the past few weeks, peak case rates in Cuba have been low. Although in the beginning of January, infections surpassed 1,000 per day, in the last three days they have not exceeded 900 and are trending down.

Experts and health authorities assure that these results are formidable, as is the fact that children are included in the vaccination campaign. The small island blockaded and besieged by the successive U.S. administrations is the first country to immunize its pediatric population from 5 to 18 years old.

“This has marked a milestone not only for the Caribbean nation but for the world that today admires Cuba and its immunization strategy that sought to protect all people, including children,” National Director of Pediatrics Lissette Lopez Gonzalez explained.

Cuba was always one step ahead of the pandemic. “In 2022, the panorama has changed thanks to the impact of vaccination, which made it possible to safeguard the little ones’ health and ensured that they could return to school,” she added.

“When we learned about the vaccines for the children, it was as if we had been brought back to life. For us, it was an explosion of joy, satisfaction, and faith,” the health authority concluded.

The expert recounted how Cuba led the world. “We did not imagine,” she explained, “that we would be the only country in the world to face Omicron with its entire pediatric population vaccinated.”

Since the last quarter of last year, the island has reported no pediatric deaths from COVID-19. And the efforts do not stop. The scientific community aspires to immunize newborns and those under the age of five.

We do not know what will happen in the near future and we must remain diligent, disciplined and not let our guard down. New variants could arrive that could once again alter the course of life on the island and in the world. But one thing is clear: nothing can stop my country’s capacity to overcome the unthinkable. We have experience in overcoming the greatest adversities and, should new challenges come, we will know how to act. But it is better not to think about that and enjoy what we have achieved so far. Infinite thanks to the scientists and authorities. Cuba keeps moving forward.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English