To assure the tranquility of Cuban families, currently underway this month is the 56th national polio vaccination campaign, providing rapid and efficient protection against the disease, to all children across the country.
The vaccine is administered with a few drops taken orally, in two stages. The first dose is being provided during the period February 20-26, for 363,778 children between the ages of one month and two years, 11 months, 29 days. They will receive a second dose April 17-23, along with 108,110 nine-year-olds who will receive a booster.
The vaccine was distributed to the country’s 451 neighborhood polyclinics, which have established vaccination sites with the support of family doctors, community facilitators, members of organizations like the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) and Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
Dr. Lena López Ambrón, head of the Ministry of Public Health’s Immunization Program, emphasized to the press that in remote areas, locales with adequate conditions, including cold storage, have been established to ensure that all children are vaccinated.
Dr. Lena López Ambrón, head of the Ministry of Public Health’s Immunization Program, stated, Photo: Nuria Barbosa
She explained that the healthcare system’s records allow for the identification of all children who must be vaccinated, an effective campaign organized, and 100% of this age group administered the vaccine, to ensure families’ confidence that their children are protected.
Dr. López shared important information for parents, recalling that the vaccine should not be administered to children with a high fever, nausea, or diarrhea. Nor should boys and girls who are immunodeficient be vaccinated, she said, while noting that a special make-up period will be established for children who cannot be vaccinated during the established period for one reason or another.
The doctor also reiterated that children must wait 30 minutes before drinking or eating anything, after they receive the vaccine.
Dr. Lopez continued, “This is an innocuous, benign vaccine, which does not cause adverse side effects. The children are evaluated beforehand by the medical team in their neighborhood, and at the time the dose is administered, their healthcare identification card is presented to certify that they are approved for the immunization.”
The current campaign is meant to insert the country in worldwide efforts to eliminate polio, which has been eradicated in Cuba since 1962, given the commitment of the Revolution’s leadership to ensure quality of life for the population.
“In Cuba,” Dr. Lopez said, “high levels of coverage have always been achieved, and this time will be no different. The immunization program guarantees that the spreading of diseases is avoided, and this has become one of the achievements of Cuban medicine and a conquest of the Revolution.”
Offering a similar opinion was Dr. Miguel Ángel Galindo, a consultant to the national program and a participant in all previous campaigns. He praised the role of Cuban nurses, who are responsible for administering the vaccine to each and every child.
As a founder of the program, he commented that his participation has been very satisfying professionally, having contributed to Cuba eliminating poliomyelitis, a severe viral disease, which can vary in its seriousness from an asymptomatic infection, to light fever, meningitis, irreversible paralysis, and even death.
According to experts, the infectious agent is a virus, and that human beings, basically children, are its only carriers. To date in Cuba, some
83,800,000 doses of the anti-polio vaccine have been administered to the population under 69 years of age.
Although the state has allocated significant resources for the acquisition of this and other vaccines, Cuban families receive them free of cost. Likewise, to carry out these massive campaigns, material and human resources are made available to the public heath system.