Cuban Vaccines: Encouraging Effectiveness

Developing Cuba’s own vaccines against Covid-19 was an imperative need for Cuba, a matter of sovereignty and national security. This conclusion was derived from the high price of vaccines and the inequality between rich and poor countries, which was already visible in the unfair distribution of drugs and health supplies. Consequently, the impossibility for the island, blocked by the US to have access to biologicals available. I do not quote verbatim but this, in essence, was the approach of President Miguel Díaz-Canel to a group of leaders of the Cuban scientific community on August 19, 2020, approximately two months after the first cases were presented. A great challenge that put the complex of biomedical research centers and their workers’ collectives, grouped in the Biocubafarma business complex, under maximum pressure. Let’s take a look at some data on what the efforts of the Cuban government and science have achieved in the pursuit of this ambitious goal.

As of August 21, 12 million 506,728 doses of one of the three vaccines already authorized for emergency use by the Center for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices had been administered in Cuba. They are Abdala, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus. It should be noted that Cuban vaccines consist of three doses and that Soberana Plus is conceived as a booster, to be applied as a third dose after two doses of Soberana 02. It is also planned to be applied to persons who have had Covid to increase their antibody levels.

In other words, as of August 21, Cuba had administered the first dose to 44.3 percent of its population, the second to 39.6 percent and the third to 28 percent. Vaccination began in May and the current daily rate is among the highest in the world. Now, let’s turn to the preliminary drug effectiveness data that had been tabulated as of August 14. On that date, 2.6 million Cubans had received the three doses and had at least 14 days after having been inoculated with the third dose, the time necessary to measure effectiveness. According to data from the Ministry of Public Health, only 0.96 percent of those fully vaccinated had been infected with the virus and the survival rate among them was 99.9956 percent, that is, only 0.0044 percent had died. Although preliminary, this information is more significant because it comes out of an extremely complicated epidemiological situation when the delta variant has become dominant in Cuba with its efficient contagion speed and exponential increase of viral load.

On the other hand, said Eduardo Martinez Diaz, president of Biocubafarma, in Havana, where most progress has been made in vaccination, it has been found that mortality per 100,000 inhabitants among fully vaccinated people as of August 14 was 2.7, while among the unvaccinated it was 117, a 43-fold reduction in mortality. Martinez Diaz reiterated the commitment to vaccinate all the inhabitants of the island during the course of this year. This would mean immunization from the age of three, since the clinical trial is already progressing in children from that age onwards, after having completed the 12 to 18 year-old trial. In September, vaccination will be accelerated to include this segment of the population.

At this point, it is very important to remember the crudeness of the blockade against Cuba, today an even more genocidal act and an even greater crime against humanity omitted, or deliberately minimized, by the media scoundrels when referring to the Cuban government’s confrontation of the intensification phase of the pandemic with the arrival of the delta variant, or to the protests of July 11. The Trump administration added 243 choking measures to the encirclement. Forty of them in the midst of the pandemic, in an undoubtedly deliberate act of unfettered cruelty. He simply used the pandemic as an ally in the effort to suffocate and surrender Cuba. Not content with this, before leaving the White House, he included the island in the spurious and arbitrary list of countries sponsoring terrorism, which makes the little access it had left to the world economic, financial and commercial system much more precarious. Seven months after the arrival of Joseph Biden to the presidency, the situation is exactly the same.

Source: Red in Defense of Humanity, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English