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Covid-19: Kenyans have their say on new Abdalla vaccine

There is a new Covid-19 vaccine that has become the talk of the town.

And this is not just because the disease continues to cause havoc across the world, or owing to the vaccine’s impeccable effectiveness, but because rather, because of its unique name.

The Cuban government recently introduced the Covid-19 Abdala vaccine. It announced the jab had a 92.28 efficiency.

And although the vaccine still needs to seek approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) so as to be exported and used outside Cuba, it has already gained popularity, and especially among Kenyans.

On social media, netizens had a mouthful to say.

“Finally, an alternative for Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It’s Abdala & Abdala,” said @adham.

“I thought Abdala vaccine is only a meme,” tweeted @Sarah_Safian.

“We now have the Abdala vaccine from Cuba. We may also need an Eric vaccine,” said @EricBana.

“Abdala vaccine is 92.28% effective against coronavirus. Finally, Abdala has an impact… Coast people will relate to this,” wrote @SamNato.

But what many do not know is that the vaccine’s name Abdala has sentimental meaning to the people of Cuba. According to Cable News Network (CNN) Abdala is the name of a poem written by Cuban revolutionary icon Jose Marti.

Biography.com describes Mr Marti as a man who had great influence on the Cuban revolution.

In 1895 he took part in the fight for the independence of Cuba but unfortunately died on the battlefield.

He is famous for his artistic talents in writing poems including the dramatic “Abdala,” in which he describes the liberation of an imaginary country.

The popular song “Guantanamera” recorded by American musician Pete Seeger is adapted from his poetry collection Versos Sencillos.

Like most revolutionaries fighting for the freedom of their countries, he had many run-ins with law enforcers resulting in him being arrested and deported to Spain.

However, when the ten-year war ended in 1878 he returned back to Cuba.

His desire was to fight for equal rights for the people of Cuba and prevent anyone class or group from taking control of the country.

Martí is considered a national hero in Cuba and is honoured by a memorial statue in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana as well as the international airport there that bears his name.