The news of a new vaccination campaign against COVID-19 at the beginning of 2023 confirms how decisive the existence of these immunogens has been for the country, and this eastern Cuban province, to manage to keep SARS-CoV-2 under control.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- While other nations with vastly superior economic power lie on their knees before the thrust of the new coronavirus, the examination of how the pandemic evolved here in almost three years corroborates that the only way to stop it is the massive application of vaccines of proven effectiveness, such as those developed by the domestic Biotechnological Industry. Las Tunas has not been the exception.
In 2020, the confinement kept the disease within tolerable limits for a vulnerable Health System from the point of view of the availability of resources. However, when these guidelines were relaxed in 2021, the prevalence of more contagious and lethal variants of the virus caused the first major outbreak that put the nation on the ropes with critical levels of transmission and deaths. In the Balcony of the East, that year accounted for more than half of all positives, both autochthonous and imported.
Looking at the monthly behavior of the disease in each of the years, it is evident that the intensity of transmission is inversely proportional to the percentage of vaccination. The more the latter rose, the more the former plummeted. The clearest example was at the beginning of 2022 when the pandemic was stopped in its tracks with a new immunization offensive. This stop was also noted in the number of patients whose death was certified by COVID-19, since after sadly high numbers between August and October 2021 and an increase in the first quarter of 2022, no death from this cause has been reported in Las Tunas since March of last year.
Cuba's future steps will be along the lines of prevention. For that reason, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP, by its Spanish acronym) informed us that it will start to apply booster doses with our vaccines to "pregnant women in the last trimester of gestation who six months before received their last vaccine, as well as to women who are still breastfeeding their babies. The at-risk population, those over 70 years of age, would also be protected once again, while the second booster dose will be completed for those between 19 and 48 years of age who have not received it. In all cases, they can only be vaccinated if six months have elapsed since the previous application".
Meanwhile, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Cuba (CIGB, in Spanish) announced that it will begin to apply Nasalferón, an antiviral, immunomodulatory, and prophylactic drug, to population groups potentially vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2.
The MINSAP finally urged the public to "respect the capacity and maintain physical distance in places where activities involving a concentration of people are carried out. While we recommend the use of face mask in these cases and also when attending activities in enclosed spaces;” and that "one should not go to work, school or social events if respiratory symptoms are present.” We are, he concluded, obliged to take extreme vigilance and isolation measures in old people's homes, grandparents' homes, childcare centers, and other institutions where groups of people who could also be vulnerable to the disease share.