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Cuba becomes first country to vaccinate young children

Cuba became the first country in the world to vaccinate children as young as two years old against COVID-19 with a domestic vaccine.

All children ages two through 18 will receive at least two doses of the Cuban-developed Soberana-2 vaccine.

Cuban officials said trials of the vaccine in minors found it to be safe and that it elicited a stronger immune response than in adults.

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 it's 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.

The Caribbean island desperately wants to tame the disease in time for the tourism season that begins in November.

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.

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