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Vaccine is here! TCI Health holds Press Conference; the BIG TAKE AWAYS



#TurksandCaicosIslands – January 8, 2021 – Turks and Caicos has access to 80,000 and can vaccinate the entire country; a remarkable position for the island.  First batch arrived last night (Jan 7) and is stored at TCI hospital. 

A portal to be launched for registration of residents interested in taking the vaccine, however, one does not have to wait for the portal, one can contact official offices to inform of your interest.

Confirmed that as of last night, there are 230 appointments already set for the Covid vaccines in Providenciales & Grand Turk; they begin next week Tuesday January 12

Logistically the TCI Hospitals and Family Island clinics will be the sites for the shots and it will be by appointment only; up to 80 individuals per day is what Minister of Health says is manageable for TCI at this time

Vaccines can be wasted.  It is critical for appointments to be kept.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays are vaccine days.  Tuesdays and Fridays in Provo.  Wednesdays in Grand Turk.  These islands are with the larger populations.

In the top three priority groups:  Health Care Workers, Elderly, Medically vulnerable, National leaders and Prison inmates there is a total of 2,290 individuals who can be immunized.

It is NOT mandatory for anyone to take vaccine; this includes health care workers.

Recent cluster of infections of Covid at the TCI Hospitals will not hurt the vaccination strategy says Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tennant, TCI Hospitals CEO.  Screening for those entering all health facilities will continue and includes temperature check.

Minister Edwin Astwood myth-busting:  no chips, no one controlling the mind, no one here to trick you only here to offer the vaccine to help and save lives.  Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine unlike vaccines of yesteryear, is optional and with greater world and scientific scrutiny.

UK Government issued vaccines to four overseas territories; Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda and Gibraltar. TCI vaccines arrived via British Airways on evening of Thursday January 7, 2021.

TCI received 9,750 vaccines.

The Press Conference was held at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center and welcomed media in the room and via Zoom.

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Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.


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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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