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TCI: A Vaccination Story

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#TurksandCaicos, April 2, 2021 – Mr. Speaker, I can proudly stand here and say that I am fully vaccinated and I want to put it on record my gratitude to all those that have made the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine so readily available on our shores and who have been working tirelessly in its distribution.

Today I want to tell a short story.

I was recently a fly on the wall as I listened to my wife explain to my daughter, Maya what it will take for us to get back to “normal” in the TCI. She put the idea of 80% of the population being vaccinated into practical terms and highlighted that as a mother there are a lot of fears that she doesn’t have to take on that parents in the early 20th century or even as recently as 40 years ago had to take on.

One hundred years ago prior to MMR vaccines i.e. (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) there were millions of deaths of children yearly, and in 1918 about 5% of the world’s population was killed due to the Spanish flu Pandemic. We don’t have to worry about diseases like Polio because our children are vaccinated and in the rare occasion when they are not, the majority of the population has been vaccinated, which keeps them safe.

Just for a bit of context Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that the majority of us in this chamber and throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands have had the MMR, Polio and other vaccines during our childhood. We all can recall vaccination day at our schools where nurses would come in from the hospital to give us our shot and we all have the little scar on our shoulders to prove it. 

Mr. Speaker, We have been kept safe from many diseases because our parents and our grandparents did what they needed to do. Although this strain of COVID-19 is new, vaccinations are not.

Research on flu vaccines were being conducted before COVID hit and its rapid engineering was made possible because the world came to a standstill. There has never been the amount of resources devoted to any other vaccine development in such a short period of time ever, and that’s why we have the vaccine.

The WHO tells us that next to clean water, nothing has a bigger impact on saving lives than vaccines. Vaccines use our body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and make our immune system stronger.

So Turks and Caicos Islanders and all that call these beautiful by nature islands their home, please get vaccinated.

I am overjoyed to be part of the government that brought such joys with a stimulus, but know that the only way we can really and truly stimulate our economy, get our kids back to regular learning full-time, live freely is by getting our population vaccinated.

Mr. Speaker, waiting and seeing will not get us there. Waiting and seeing will delay progress and put not only ourselves at risk, but all those we love and care about so deeply.

Thank you Mr. Speaker

Bahamas News

Imagine a World with NO MORE HIV/AIDS; the race for a Vaccine heats up

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 5, 2022 – A significant stride in the hunt for a concrete HIV vaccine has been made using bnAbs in an experimental vaccine trial.

‘bnAbs’ it’s  an acronym that means next to nothing to most of us yet could revolutionize healthcare.  Short for Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies it describes antibodies that bind to pathogens that have proven difficult to pin down in the past, pathogens like HIV which has already claimed 40 million lives.

Scientists think that these vaccines which induce the body to produce these bnAbs have a shot at protecting us from several viruses that have eluded vaccine makers in the past like HIV, influenza, Hepatitis C virus and others.

Imagine never getting HIV or contracting the flu again!

A paper on the vaccine trial published on December 1st explained that when individuals were given a primary dose and a booster dose of the vaccine it induced bnAbs which fight HIV in 97 percent of them.

It’s not the only HIV vaccine in production, Moderna with medical advancements discovered in their Covid-19 vaccine is also trying to create an mRNA HIV shot.  The US National Institute of Health is also launching a vaccine trial of its own.

Even if this vaccine proves viable, it will have to go through an incredibly stringent process before it can hope to be released to the public.

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Bahamas News

Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.

Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.

Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.

“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.

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Health

Chinese Gov’t relenting on strict COVID Zero lockdowns

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#China, December 2, 2022  – Just days after the country experienced a record amount of Covid-19 cases, mainland China will ease some of its restrictions.  Mass protests which are extremely rare for the nation broke out last week all across the country as residents tired and frustrated by the weeks of severe lockdowns and upset over a deadly fire clashed with riot police. Residents’ escape from the fire which killed 10 people may have been delayed because of Covid-19 protocols, Chinese officials deny the claims but citizens are not convinced.

It has sparked what international media is calling the white paper revolution.  Residents afraid of being arrested under the country’s extreme censorship laws are holding up blank pieces of white paper as a symbol for the things they are not allowed to vocalize Vice Premier Sun Chunlan quickly released a statement about COVID weakening as the protests quelled and restrictions were lifted according to Reuters.

“The country is facing a new situation and new tasks in epidemic prevention and control as the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens, more people are vaccinated and experience in containing the virus is accumulated,” she said

As of November 30th most areas in Shanghai and Guangzhu specifically have been released from lockdown despite the rising cases as tensions overflowed in the business and the manufacturing cities respectively. Earlier this year officials put Shanghai under quarantine for what was supposed to be a single week, residents ended up locked at home for two months.

Since the beginning of the Pandemic China has employed a ZERO COVID policy, whether that will continue as protocols loosen is yet to be seen.

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