Sep 19, 2021 - World

Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of children

A child receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a school in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 16, 2021.
A child receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a school in Havana on Sept. 16. Photo: Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua via Getty Images

Cuba this week became the first country in the world to begin the mass vaccination of children against the coronavirus, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The effort comes in response to a recent uptick in cases, which led Cuban officials to scrap plans to reopen schools earlier this month.

  • At least 117,500 minors are reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Cuba, according to CNN. Children as young as 2 are eligible to receive the vaccine on the island.
  • As of yet, vaccination is not mandatory, however, parents have been heavily encouraged to immunize their children.

What they're saying: "It's not a condition in order to attend our educational institutions when classes renew to be vaccinated," said Vice Minister of Education Eugenio González Pérez, per CNN.

  • "But we call on the Cuban family to vaccinate their children. We have a vaccine that's 100% Cuban," he added.
  • "It's alarming the numbers of infections of the new coronavirus that have occurred in Cuba in the last few months in the pediatric population," added Cuban Health Minister Jose Portal Miranda.
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