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COVID Vaccine 90 per cent effective at keeping you alive says Hospitals CEO



#TurksandCaicos, August 27, 2021 – The wall of defence which approved vaccines had given to their takers has been compromised, significantly.  Health agencies around the world continue to warn that the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines has been cut down, 30 to 60 per cent since the emergence and insurgence of the delta strain of the coronavirus.  While the continually changing facts about the virus and the vaccine have caused a boom in uptake, it has also resulted in increased skepticism about the integrity of information.

Doctors speaking to the Turks and Caicos general public however advise waiting or rejecting the vaccine is a dangerous posture to take.

Dr. Denise Braithwaite Tennant, CEO of the TCI hospitals  was, on Wednesday night during a press conference, adamant that the vaccine still holds up with an 88 per cent rate of keeping you out of hospital and an over 90 per cent rate of keeping you from dying as a result of this fittest and fastest mutation.

“Fifty-six per cent of those patients required high-flow oxygen to care for them along with our other therapies and 44 per cent required use of the ventilator. That is high.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) still struggles to reach its initial target of a 70 per cent vaccination rate, on the way to herd immunity of 85 per cent.  The marks are missed as vaccine interest has waned.

“Despite the accessibility of the vaccine throughout the country to residents, including 12 to 15 year olds the pace of the vaccine roll out has significantly slowed in recent weeks despite our best efforts.  An analysis of the data captured in our electronic immunisation register highlights that approximately 35.8 per cent of 16-24 years age group, 39.4 per cent having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Nadia Astwood, TCI Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

The CMO informed this group is concerning as the youth are more likely to flout health protocols like mask wearing and are the ones populating social gatherings.  The CMO believes the high un-vaccinated rate has the potential to hurt a return to face-to-face learning at school.

“Persons in this age group need to come forward and be vaccinated to protect themselves as well as vulnerable persons who may be in contact with them.”

Dr. Braithwaite Tenant shared demographics of some of the more recent hospital cases including 60 per cent being under 60 years old, 70 per cent being women and 70 per cent having pre-existing conditions like hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Turks and Caicos hospitals has been supported by Government in a temporary human resource solution, as it struggles to identify long-term medical staff.

“We have the continued support of the Cuban brigade with us, which helps us with our buffer supply. We have had progressive recruitment of our nurses to hire. We’ve been in Canada, the UK however we have aggressive ongoing recruitment to replace these vacancies.”

The motivation for her passionate plea for residents to get vaccinated emerged from health report on the current situation in Turks and Caicos amidst what was confirmed as the “third wave” of the coronavirus.  Knowledge shared about the herculean task to get TCI residents to medical treatment abroad coupled with an over capacity Providenciales  medical facility are hoped to move more people to get the jab.

“I would like to thank the team at the National Health Insurance Board , who worked around the clock, under challenging circumstances to find ICU care and ICU beds for our patients when the hospitals in their networks were themselves, experiencing their own demands to provide care to their community,” she said as more light is now being shed on the chronic threat which exists to the Medical Treatment Abroad Program.

Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tenant, informed her main facility is at 105 per cent capacity and while the majority of the beds are not taken up by Covid 19 patients, they are still full.

“You can see that during this pandemic with its peaks and troughs, bed capacity is often challenged as a result of the increased hospitalisations and surges.  It’s very important that you are aware and kept abreast because I hope this information will help you to make a decision about the Covid-19 vaccine  and the importance it plays – as Dr. Astwood mentioned earlier – in the reduction of hospitalisations and the saving of lives to protect our small, but very hearty health care system and hospital.” said Dr. Braithwaite-Tenant.

The Cheshire Hall Medical Centre (CHMC) located in Providenciales is a 20-bed facility; currently 21 of those beds were, up to Wednesday, occupied.  The Cockburn Town Medical Centre (CTMC) in Grand Turk is a 10 bed facility; 90 per cent of capacity is currently in use.  Both centres have sufficient oxygen supply, using the newly installed oxygen generation system which has been a major stride in TCI health care.

“However, we do have our expansion beds available both in our day room and our outpatient; extra beds have already been pre-deployed and they are available,” she said about the Providenciales hospital.

One of three COVID patients at the CHMC had to be medically evacuated; the remaining patients were undergoing oxygen and other therapies.  As many as eight have had to be put on ventilator, 56 per cent of the COVID patients have needed high flow oxygen and 70 per cent of those hospitalised with the coronavirus have been women.

Turks and Caicos is now with 69 active cases, nine of them new and all of those were identified in Providenciales.  There are two people hospitalised for the virus.




Women 30x more likely for UTIs; Learn More



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



January 25, 2023 – Itchy, uncomfortable and often painful Urinary Tract Infections affects millions of people yearly, the vast majority of them women. In fact ‘UTIs will likely affect almost half the female population at least once in their lives and women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do. Also, as many as 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within six months’ the US Office on Women’s Health explains.

Caused by germs that get into the bladder, UTIs can happen in any part of the large urinary system including the kidneys; ureters; bladder; and urethra, but are most common in the bladder. They are easy to cure with proper antibiotics but can be serious if left untreated. Knowing how to identify a UTI and getting quick and effective treatment can save women and girls a lot of pain. The UK National Health Agency lists the symptoms as

  • pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
  • needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
  • pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
  • needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
  • needing to pee more often than usual
  • blood in your pee
  • lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
  • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • a very low temperature below 36C

What many people may not know is that these painful symptoms can affect young children as well, if your baby is generally unwell, has a high temperature, wets the bed or themselves and refuses to eat you may want to ask your doctor to take a look as these are symptoms of UTIs in children.

A quick visit to your doctor and a round of antibiotics will usually clear up the infection and any recurring ones but avoiding UTIs completely may be the best bet for all. UTIs are caused when bacteria often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract the CDC says. The agency also lists a myriad risk factors that can cause this including poor hygiene in older adults with catheters or young children who are potty training causing bacteria to spread. Other risk factors include: Sexual activity; Changes in the bacteria that live inside the vagina, or vaginal flora. (For example, menopause or the use of spermicides can cause these bacterial changes.); Pregnancy; and Structural problems in the urinary tract, such as an enlarged prostate.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in having the common medical condition a UTI, while painful, is easy to treat, make use of the treatment options available to you and don’t ignore the symptoms in the hope that they will disappear as this could make the problem worse.

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Caribbean News

Haiti’s death toll from cholera continues to climb; Cases shoot past 21,000



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Haiti, January 25, 2023 – The cholera situation in Haiti has worsened, with the country recording 496 deaths in nearly four months after the resurgence of cholera was reported on October 2 of last year.

In a statement released on Thursday, January 19, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) Department of Epidemiology revealed that the country has already registered 25,182 suspected cases and 21,407 hospitalized cases, 73 of which are new.

The Ministry noted that the average age of those infected is 19 years and the most affected age group is 1 to 4 years old, with 374 confirmed cases of 5005 suspected cases.

In addition, the department in the west, where Port-au-Prince is located and where more than one-third of the population lives, was pointed highlighted as the most affected area, with 1,155 confirmed cases for 16,408 suspected cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that the world is suffering unprecedented cholera outbreaks in countries affected by climate disasters and other crises.

Vaccines to prevent the disease have also become “extremely scarce.”

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US to consider annual COVID vaccination



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#USA, January 25, 2023 – In a matter of days, the United States is going to make a decision on whether or not they will make Covid-19 vaccinations an annual recommendation.

In an effort to reduce vaccine mistakes and increase compliance from the public the best way to administer COVID shots going forward is via a single vaccine shot for primary and booster doses according to a proposal from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA said despite the fact that the fact that bivalent vaccines were proven to work, getting shots into arms was proving difficult with the agency citing “implementation complexities”.

In addition healthcare workers have made mistakes administering the vaccine owing to the number of different vial presentations and booster uptake is low all these issues are expected to be fixed or improved with the simplification of the vaccine composition.

The vaccine will have to be periodically updated to handle new variants but if the FDA gets its way gone will be the era of multiple boosters. In fact the COVID shot will be more like the flu shot in how it is administered. Regulators will also vote on whether all shots should target the same variants. Of this is approved regulators would decide the most concerning variant in summer giving vaccine makers a chance to change the formulation in time for winter.

“Review of the totality of the available evidence on prior exposure to and vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 suggests that, moving forward, most individuals may only need to receive one dose of an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine to restore protective immunity for a period of time. Two doses of an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to induce the expected protective immunity”

The Agency explained that though it was not completely the same the data observed in long term effectiveness of COVID shots was similar to that observed with annual influenza vaccination cementing their proposal.

The proposal will be considered this Thursday at the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Even as yearly shots are considered, the US is holding fast to its vaccine mandate for entry.

This is despite most other countries relaxing the rules months prior. The vax rule came into effect during the initial onset of Omicron in November 2021. Prior to that only a negative test was needed. The measure was set to expire on January 9th but was quickly extended to April 10 this year.

The WHO has advised that travel bans and restrictions “do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress and safety measures such as masking, testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination should be based on risk assessments.

The country lengthened their vax mandate and activated more stringent entry measures, particularly for travellers from the China region, as new and elusive COVID sub-variants are emerging and infection rates are increasing.

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