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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.

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

Oct 20, 2021 - Health

In-N-Out refuses to follow San Francisco's vaccine mandate

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

The California burger chain In-N-Out is refusing to follow San Francisco's vaccination mandate, which requires restaurants to check for customers' proof of vaccination to dine indoors, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The San Francisco Public Health Department has had to remind employees multiple times to check for proof of vaccination since September, ultimately resulting in the city's only In-N-Out location getting shut down on Oct. 14. It is the only time the agency has ordered a restaurant's closure over a mandate violation, officials told the Post.

3 mins ago - World

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements

Bennett (L) and Biden discussed the settlements issue. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages.

Why it matters: This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement-building since President Biden assumed office, and the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in "Area C" of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel.

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