Cuba has received a batch of syringes and needles for its vaccination campaign against Covid-19, thanks to a donation from civil organisations in Argentina.
The aid effort is in line with similar initiatives from several NGOs in other countries, local media reported on Tuesday.
Around 380,000 syringes and 359,000 needles arrived on the island aboard a flight from the state-run Cubana de Aviación airline. They were donated by the Argentine Movement of Solidarity with Cuba (MasCuba), the Union of Cuban Residents in Argentina (URCA) and other organisations.
Cuba began its immunisation campaign against the coronavirus with its two most advanced vaccine candidates, Soberana 02 and Abdala, which are awaiting authorisation for emergency use from local health authorities in June.
As of Tuesday, 1.7 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine, out of a population of 11.2 million.
“Our gratitude to the Argentine Movement of Solidarity with #Cuba and the Union of Cuban Residents in Argentina for sending medical supplies to support vaccination against #COVID19,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez in a post on Twitter.
The initiative is linked to the campaign “Your Solidarity breaks the blockade,” whose objective is to raise funds to carry out vaccinations.
Cuba faces difficulties in acquiring these types of medical supplies due to the lengthy embargo imposed by the United States six decades ago.
“In the face of the blockade, solidarity prevails,” said Rodríguez.
Cuban friendship organisations in the United States, Chile, Spain, Italy and other countries have coordinated to acquire 20 million needles for the island.
In April, a Swiss government entity and the NGO MediCuba Europe granted emergency financing of US$600,000 for the purchase of syringes.
In Spain, the State Movement of Solidarity with Cuba (MESC) plans to source three million syringes for Cuba before June 23, according to the Cubadebate news portal. On that date, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on its annual resolution on the United States blockade.
Cuba is suffering a rebound in Covid-19 infections with 143,323 cases and 965 deaths, though these figures are considered low given the regional context.
The island's health authorities hope to immunise the island’s entire population this year with national vaccines.