Cuban solidarity vs European confrontation

pic: by @elcarito on Unplash

The Eurozone countries progress very slowly in the process of vaccinating their population. The delay in coordination when requesting vaccines a few months ago is currently reflected in the low percentage of the population that has been able to be vaccinated so far.

In addition to this, the recent conflict between the United Kingdom and the EU regarding AstraZeneca vaccine has led to strong complaints by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. In a recent interview with the German press group Funke, Presidente von der Leyen has threatened to block exports of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine if the EU does not receive the promised doses first. “We have the option to suspend planned exports. This is our message to AstraZeneca: respect the contract with Europe before starting to supply doses to other countries” the President said.

Meanwhile, the COVID situation in the UK is much better. According to British Health Minister Matt Hancock, half of the adult population in the United Kingdom has already received the first dose of a Covid vaccines. Hancock called the national immunization program a “great success” and thanked everyone who makes it possible, as well as the citizens who have come to his appointment to be inoculated, for their “hard work”.

In this way, the great differences that exist between the different countries that make up the “old continent” are reflected. Far from establishing a common policy where solidarity and common sense prevail and where priority is given to the population most at risk, the miseries of each of its states come to light.

Situation very different from that experienced in a country like Cuba, where the approach is radically opposite. A country that has been able to develop (facing several adversities in its environment) up to four vaccine candidates, one of them already in phase III.

The Cuban COVID-19 vaccine Soberana02 started phase III clinical trials last Monday 8th March in Havana. According to Public Health authorities the development during this first week has been very positive. These vaccinations have taken place in more than 40 vaccination centres, all of them located in eight Havana municipalities and had included more than 40k volunteers.

One group of volunteers will receive two doses of Soberana02, another group will receive three doses and the last group will be given placebo (once the study ends this last group will be also immunized with the vaccine). Those responsible for the project will consider whether the administration of two doses provides sufficient immunization, or if, three doses are necessary to achieve the objective.

Once its entire population is vaccinated, Cuba plans to vaccinate all tourists who visit the island and export their vaccine to all countries that require it. According to Vicente Vérez, director of the Finlay Institute: “we are not a multinational company where (financial) return is the number one reason. We work the other way around, creating more health and return is a consequence, it will never be the priority”.

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