AstraZeneca Research suggests its Covid Vaccine works against Brazilian variant, says CARPHA
#TurksandCaicos, March 15, 2021 – Given the nature of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19, variants are likely to emerge and several have emerged all over the world.
Variants are a natural part of viral infection and replication. In this regard, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that cause COVID-19, such as Brazil, UK and South African variants, is normal and expected. Some variants have been reported to be more virulent and transmissible.
With regard to the Brazil variant (P.1), a recent study conducted by AstraZeneca suggests that the vaccine will work against the P.1 variant from Brazil. The Brazilian regulatory authorities have assessed it and are so far satisfied by the results. So much so, that the Brazilian government has since approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in its population where the P.1 variant is widespread and has ordered more than 200 million doses of Astra Zeneca.
CARPHA is awaiting the publication of the full study by AstraZeneca to provide more complete information on the degree of efficacy.
Researchers are also working to learn more about the ease of spread and transmission of the variants, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorised vaccines will fully protect us against them.
CARPHA continues to monitor current research on vaccines, variants and the modifications being made to current vaccines and their effectiveness as a consequence of the variants.
We are also diligently working with The University of the West Indies, St Augustine on genome sequencing and we are monitoring the variants in the Region.
There was a concern about the P.1 variant being detected in one country. However, the situation was contained, and the individual was not allowed to leave the vessel.
CARPHA also reported the detection of a variant in the Caribbean that is related to the P.1 variant, but not quite the same. This new variant may carry changes which will require additional research to determine their effects on transmissibility and efficacy of vaccines.
We are assured by the scientific research of the results of reduced disease in countries which have vaccinated large percentages of their populations.
CARPHA encourages the population of our Region to be vaccinated. Thank you.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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