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TCI vaccine strategy is world-aligned to save lives



Dr. Nadia Astwood, TCI Chief Medical Officer

#TurksandCaicosIslands – December 23, 2020 — The goal is to save lives in the administering of the Covid 19 vaccines which the Turks and Caicos will on January 7 receive in a special delivery from the United Kingdom.  Dr. Nadia Astwood, TCI Chief Medical Officer joined the Governor and Minister of Health in a press conference Wednesday.  She said the vaccine strategy for the territory is already approved.

“The priority groups for the first phase of vaccinations will include the elderly, health care workers, those with underlying medical conditions who are at greatest risk for hospitalization if infected and those who ae living and working in congregated settings, such as long term care facilities.”

TCI’s vaccine strategy, informed the CMO, will broadly follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and Public Health England, which puts the wider public as last in line for the Pfizer vaccine.

UK has dispatched 9,750 does to the Turks and Caicos; each recipient will require two shots.  The firt a primer, the second a booster and they must be taken within 21 days of each other, else the dosage is wasted.

Pregnant women and healthy children under 16 years old are also not top priority, said Dr. Astwood as she aimed to tackle FAQs within her presentation.   A lack of evidence or research to outline the vaccine’s impact on pregnant women and the absence of data because clinical trials on younger children are yet to begin were cited as the key reasons these groups will not be among the first to be vaccinated.

The Covid-19 vaccine, like the flu vaccine will be a shot to the upper arm.  However, unlike the flu vaccine one must return for the second shot.

“You will not be fully protected until you have the second dose and he full efficacy of the vaccine will not be realised until seven days after the second vaccine. So this is at day 28 and so that means you will still need to take the usual precautions.

Dr. Astwood admitted to unknowns about CoVax; including whether it will be a onetime shot which gives protection for life or a seasonal shot similar to the flu vaccine.

Patients who have recovered from Covid-19 are encouraged to sign on for the shot.

“If you have had Covid previously,  you should get immunized, the immunity that results from previously having the infection, otherwise known as natural immunity, is thought to not last as long as the protection that would be offered by the vaccine.”

There is a five percent chance you could still get sick as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which the TCI is being gifted by the UK has a 95 percent efficacy rate.

“It’s also possible to get sick with the illness a few weeks after the you’ve first had the vaccination and then be exposed to the virus, so it takes time for the body to build the immune response after being vaccinated so therefore it is critical to have the second dose and wait the additional time after you’ve received the second dose.”

The vaccine is not compulsory in the Turks and Caicos Islands, reminded Dr. Astwood.

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Bahamas News

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

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Caribbean News

Woman who lost foot is Alexandra Truwit, Yale Grad & All American Swimmer



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – A champion swimmer, marathon runner, Ivy League graduate and world traveler with a huge smile– that is Alexandra Truwit; at only 22 years old, she has a whole life ahead of her, one that may have now been made exponentially harder by the loss of her foot in an incident which continues to be unconfirmed, but reported as a shark attack off the coast of Providenciales.

Magnetic Media learned Truwit, who is a very experienced swimmer, was on a private charter captained by an employee of Big Blue Collective (not a Big Blue Charter).  She was bitten by what eyewitnesses think could have been a Caribbean Reef Shark and her foot below the ankle was completely severed.

It’s a heartbreaking incident exacerbated by the young woman’s obvious love for- and proficiency in- the water.

The Yale website describes Truwit as a Two-time USA Swimming Academic All-American.  Featured as a ‘Teen Titan’ in her high school, she was one of ten young people chosen for the school’s magazine. 

Truwit, who has a twin brother, cites nail art and baking as her life joys. Already having survived ‘mono’ as a teen, she volunteers as a Special Olympics “hugger” and started a Special Olympics club at her high school.

She was airlifted from the Turks and Caicos on the day of her accident and there have been no updates on her condition so far.  Residents in the TCI and the US have expressed via social media their best wishes for the young achiever and must now wait, hoping for the best possible outcome.

One resident said, “So sorry Alexandra you had to encounter such a traumatic experience while on vacation on our beautiful Island.  I am praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for you, hopefully, the surgeon can work their magic for you.”

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Governor’s Appointed Member touts Civil Service Upgrade during Budget Debates



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – There are sweeping changes coming to the civil service this year after years of complaints about delays and understaffing.

“For the year 2023/24, the office of the Deputy Governor has a very ambitious public sector transformation centered around improving service delivery and the customer experience.”

This came from Governors Appointed Member Willin Belliard, as he rose in the budget debates on Thursday May 18 to detail the revamp.

Phase one of E-procurement which will allow for the virtual submission of tenders is to be implemented. Along with that will come E-Jobs, a similar system touted to make job applications virtual, swift and easy.

Implementation of the Human Capital Procurement Program is also on the list of deliverables. Human capital is sorely lacking in the Turks and Caicos across the public and private sectors with hundreds of vacancies sitting open and resignations continuing to pile up.

Public servants will also find it easier to enroll into the all new Public Sector Pension Plan with the advent of a portal to remove the need for paper based applications.

The previously announced pay grading exercise is on the table to be completed and a Contract management unit has now been created to manage the delivery of projects that taxpayers are funding.

Residents of the Turks and Caicos have complained bitterly about the state of the civil service in the country for years. From police records to the treasury, the service is characterized by low staffing, frustrating wait time and long lines.

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