#TurksandCaicos, May 12, 2021 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services is pleased to update the general public that as of May 9 2021, a total of 19,515 persons in the TCI have received their first dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. This represents roughly 56 per cent of the adult population and marks a tremendous milestone of the ongoing vaccination campaign which commenced in January 2021. Additionally, 42 per cent of the adult population or 14,803 persons are now fully vaccinated having received both vaccines.
The Ministry of Health and Human Services would like to encourage unvaccinated persons to strongly consider taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine on offer in the TCI, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, is 95 per cent effective and is safe.
The number of active COVID-19 cases locally peaked to over 600 in February and has consistently declined since including the number of COVID-19 related admissions to the hospital.
The TCIs 28 positivity rate is now 2.7 per cent when considering PCR tests only. It is 2.3 per cent when considering both PCR and antigen tests. This is the lowest positivity rate the TCI has recorded for a 28-day period since early December. This gives supportive evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign considering the country has remained open since July 2020. In order to build on this progress as well as the continued reopening of the TCIs economy, continued support of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign is needed.
In commenting on these achievements, the Hon Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Human Services stated the following; “I would like to congratulate my team within the Ministry of Health on getting the 28-day positivity rate down below 3 per cent. This is an amazing achievement and milestone. Combined with achieving 56 per cent uptake of the vaccine (albeit for the first dose), 42 per cent fully vaccinated, and the increased rate of uptake which will allow us to get a 4th batch of the vaccine this is a great achievement. With the continued support of the general public, we can look forward to continuing to build on these achievements so that the TCI can begin to return to normal.”
The general public is encouraged to contact their health care provider for vaccination appointments and/or access the vaccination through community events by the Primary Health Care Department which is available at no cost to all residents.
No More Weekly COVID Updates, says WHO
September 29, 2023 – In a clear sign that the global community has moved past the emergency stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic; the World Health Organization (WHO) is suspending its weekly COVID updates and migrating to a monthly format.
In a September 1 report, they advised: “Please note that this is the last edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update. Moving forward, as WHO transitions its COVID-19 surveillance from an emergency response to long-term COVID-19 disease prevention, control and management, we will be providing updates every four weeks.”
The WHO, along with other health agencies like the US Centers for Disease Control, had been warning about the reduced reliability of COVID-19 data because of less robust testing worldwide for some time.
The disease was downgraded from a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in May 2023.
New boosters are still being approved and the WHO is predicting that the disease will have to be controlled with yearly vaccines as variants continue to emerge much like the Flu virus.
COVID + Kids, What to watch for
September 29, 2023 – COVID-19 is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, but the disease is still present and can still affect the population including children.
Cough fever and difficulty breathing are only some of the symptoms that young children and babies might experience when infected with the viral illness, according to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Other symptoms include muscle or body aches; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; diarrhea; headache; fatigue; nausea or vomiting; congestion or runny nose.
Children may not be eloquent enough to properly convey their illness so parents are advised to pay close attention to their complaints and visible symptoms.
Though COVID-19 can be a mild disease for most, there are some cases that warrant immediate emergency medical attention the hospital says. These include:
- Difficulty breathing or catching his or her breath
- Inability to keep down any liquids
- confusion or inability to awaken
- Bluish lips
Both COVID and the flu tend to spike during the winter flu season so parents are advised to take precautions against them including mask wearing in high risk areas and frequent hand washing.
New report reveals stunning Blood Pressure statistics
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Hypertension affects 1 in 3 adults worldwide, and if countries do not scale up coverage tens of millions of people will die. That’s according to a first-of-its-kind report on the global effects of hypertension from the World Health Organization.
The September 19th report indicated that the number of people living with hypertension has doubled in less than 30 years, between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion and nearly half of the affected are unaware.
The WHO is now calling on all countries including the Turks and Caicos to invest in the prevention, detection and management of hypertension as a matter of urgency.
The organization crunched the numbers to show countries what more focused programs could do.
“An increase in the number of patients effectively treated for hypertension to levels observed in high-performing countries could prevent 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks, and 17 million cases of heart failure between now and 2050,” it said.
Along with saving lives, the WHO says it can also decrease spending on health. Health is usually the largest portion of the TCI budget. The cost of preventing and managing the disease versus treating its effects is massive.
“The prevention, early detection and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritized by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level. The economic benefits of improved hypertension treatment programs outweigh the costs by about 18 to 1.”
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