By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – On a recent episode of Mesa Redonda, it was announced that potential vaccines Abdala and Soberana 02 were highly effective, and the former was even ranked 4th compared to the list of vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization.
A big pat on the back to these scientists who, with great determination and intelligence, have been able to display the achievements of our medical sciences.
However, beyond vaccinating health professionals, the military, police force and some of Havana’s residents, no date has been set for the beginning of a mass vaccination campaign in the rest of the country.
This broadcast had an air of victory, that reminded me of June and July last year, when official media praised the end of COVID-19 in Cuba, comparing the imminent victory of the Cuban government with the sad reality of many other countries, especially the US.
Well, we all know here what happened next: a second wave at the end of the year and a third more aggressive one in 2021, that is now threatening to collapse our health system.
In Cuba, there are approximately 3000 new cases of COVID-19 every day [in a population of 11.2 million], and everything seems to indicate that this number might gradually increase.
However, far from beginning a nationwide vaccination campaign or at least offering real information about this, the government is sustaining an insane propaganda campaign about the great feat that is Abdala and Soberana 02. Meanwhile, they insists that the best vaccine is respecting health measures and protocols, a false axiom that we’ve been hearing since the beginning of the pandemic that has already been present on our soil for 15 months now.
When will mass vaccinations begin? It’s a question that is on everybody’s lips nowadays here in Pinar del Rio, and nobody knows the answer up until now.
“It’s the million-dollar question,” a friend said to me, who is working as an official on my province’s Health Board.
Just like the government doesn’t explain anything with its press/megaphone, the Cuban people are whispering with the rumor that the delay in vaccinations is due to a syringe shortage. Which is somewhat plausible if we see that almost everything is missing here.
The only real response the government has given us is a series of measures that were passed on June 28th that aim to restrict freedom of movement even more, close down private businesses that are barely surviving amid shortages, and an increase in repression against everyone that violates health measures. Measures which haven’t produced the desired outcome, it’s fair to say, and that surely translate into the greater social and economic hardship that we are having to endure.
According to the government’s version, the existence of this sad pandemic – which has taken thousands of Cuban lives – is also due to social indiscipline as a result of low-risk perception, to a large extent. It seems that Cuba is the only country in the world where leaders blame citizens for the virus’ havoc.
On top of that, a hurricane is approaching our coastline as I write this article. Just when we think we’ve hit rock bottom, something always happens to make us feel like things can still get worse.