Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A man is vaccinated in Havana on June 17.

ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI/Reuters

Cuba will begin vaccinating adolescents against COVID-19 this week and younger children from mid-September as part of a drive to immunize more than 90% of the population by December, state-run media said on Wednesday.

All children ages 2 through 18 will receive at least two doses of the Cuban-developed Soberana-2 vaccine beginning Sept. 3, the official Cubadebate digital news outlet reported.

Health Ministry official Ileana Morales Suarez was quoted as saying the campaign would resemble annual vaccinations against various childhood diseases, taking place at thousands of community-based family medical practices and clinics.

Story continues below advertisement

Trials of the vaccine in minors found it to be safe and that it elicited a stronger immune response than in adults, according to state-owned manufacturer Finlay Institute.

The decision was announced at a weekly meeting of leaders and scientists to confront the pandemic on the Communist-run Caribbean island currently battling a Delta variant-driven surge that has strained its health system and hit the younger population much harder than previous versions of the virus.

Over the past week, Cuba averaged between 6,500 and 7,000 cases per day and 70 to 80 deaths, down significantly from a few weeks ago but still one of the highest rates in the world in terms of cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Vaccination of the adult population primarily using another locally-developed shot, Abdala, will be stepped up with the goal of ensuring all eligible adults have at least begun the three-shot-treatment by the end of the month.

Cubans are desperate to get their kids back in school after months of home schooling, a prospect postponed again this September.

The country is suffering shortages of everything from food and medicine to parts and inputs for power plants and agriculture, due to closure of the tourism industry, tough U.S. sanctions and its own inefficiencies.

It desperately wants to tame the disease in time for the tourism season that begins in November.

Story continues below advertisement

Both Cuban vaccines, with a reported efficacy of more than 90%, have been approved by local regulators for emergency use, although the data has not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals.

In the capital, Havana, where more than 60% of the 2.2 million residents are fully vaccinated, cases and deaths per 100,000 residents are far below the national average, according to government statistics.

Currently around 50% of Cuba’s 11.3 million residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, with more than 3.5 million fully vaccinated.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies