Cuba starts first mass COVID-19 vaccine campaign for children

Cuba starts first mass COVID-19 vaccine campaign for children
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Cuba became the first country to start a mass COVID-19 vaccination program for all children, CNN reported.

Cuban children will be required to get three doses to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with children as young as two years of age eligible for the vaccine, as part of an effort to inoculate 90 percent of the island's population. 

At least 117,500 children have tested positive for the novel virus during the ongoing pandemic, according to Cuban statistics. 

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Cuban Health Minister Jose Portal Miranda wrote in an article on the government’s website that it is “alarming” to see virus cases rise for children, according to CNN. 

Cuba is among a handful of countries that have started giving the COVID-19 vaccine to some children, and the first to launch a mass vaccination campaign targeting children. 

In the US, Pfizer on Monday announced that testing showed that its COVID-19 vaccine was "safe" and "well tolerated" by children ages 5 to 11.

The rise of COVID cases among children in Cuba has led officials to delay plans of reopening schools earlier this month. 

Vice Minister of Education Eugenio González Pérez told state TV that parents do not have to let their children be vaccinated in order to return to school, CNN reported. 

"It's not a condition in order to attend our educational institutions when classes renew to be vaccinated," Pérez said. "But we call on the Cuban family to vaccinate their children. We have a vaccine that's 100% Cuban."

Much of world is experiencing another wave of COVID-19 infections as the highly contagious delta variant hits the unvaccinated hard.