The entire world is working toward an effective vaccine for the COVID-19 virus with varying results. Francisco Duran, Cuba’s top epidemiologist, indicated that he expects a vaccine to be available worldwide in the early part of 2021. Russian officials said Cuba could be selected as one of the locations to produce its vaccine beginning in Nov. 2020.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba has provided Jamaica, other Caribbean countries, and sovereignties throughout the world with more than 2,000 doctors and nurses to battle the crisis – often in the epicenter of outbreaks. Jamaica was host to 140 Cuban doctors and nurses during the nation’s outbreak in specialties that include critical and emergency care, surgical and primary care, haematologists, and therapists.
Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow has developed the first vaccine for COVID-19 and President Vladimir Putin approved it for widespread use. The vaccine was fast tracked and has undergone only small, limited trials. It hasn’t passed phase III clinical trials, leading many in the medical community worldwide to question its safety, efficacy, and the ethics of administering it.
Many individuals in other countries have indicated they wouldn’t take any newly developed vaccine until it’s been proven over time. Medical experts are concerned that if Russia’s vaccine proves dangerous it would undermine other vaccines that might be developed. Russia plans to begin inoculation of teachers and health workers first.
Cuba has a robust biopharmaceutical sector and has been working on its own COVID-19 vaccine, despite what Cuban officials say are obstacles put in place due to the U.S. trade embargo. Many have speculated that counties such as the U.S. and Europe are prioritizing their own people and other nations could be held hostage for the vaccine if they don’t develop their own.
The race to develop an effective vaccine for COVID-19 is more than just a health concern. It’s become a political and financial issue with the potential to be used as leverage to curry favor with governments or broker trade deals. If Cuba is selected as one of the manufacturing sites for the Russian vaccine, it would be a game-changer for the world.
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