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A nurse vaccinates an elderly woman against COVID-19 with Cuban vaccine Abdala in Havana, on Aug. 2. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images

Cuba has started commercial exports of its coronavirus vaccine, Abdala, with shipments arriving in Vietnam and Venezuela Sunday, AP reports.

Why it matters: The move comes weeks after Cuba said it sought approval from the World Health Organization for its three home-grown vaccines, according to Reuters. Cuba is the only country in the Caribbean to have developed a vaccine.

  • The shipment to Vietnam included 900,000 doses that it purchased, per AP, and 100,000 that Cuba donated.
  • Venezuela had agreed to buy $12 million worth of the Abdala vaccine in June, though it is not known how many were in the latest shipment.

The big picture: Latin American officials said last week the pandemic exposed the dangers of the region's dependence on imports of health technologies from the international community.

  • A May 2020 study found that less than 4% of medical products essential to combatting COVID-19 were from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Go deeper

22 hours ago - Health

Puerto Rico leads U.S. COVID vaccination rates

A mass vaccination event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 31. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The island has managed to accomplish such feats amid frequent power outages, earthquakes and high dependence on imports of health technologies from outside the region.

11 hours ago - Health

Global device sales stay steady amid Delta variant

Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Delta variant and hospital labor shortages didn't crush sales of medical devices, earnings reports from Johnson & Johnson and Intuitive Surgical show.

Why it matters: The resurgent coronavirus forced some hospitals and patients to delay care, like spine and knee procedures. But deferred care across the world was nothing like it was at this time last year.

GE to mandate COVID vaccinations for U.S. workers

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

General Electric will require all of its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing President Biden's executive order for federal contractors, the company confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: General Electric is the latest in a slew of major companies to mandate the vaccine for workers, following in the footsteps of American Airlines, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, among others.