#Jamaica, March 31, 2022 – The Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to encourage Jamaicans to get the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, as the virus remains a threat globally.
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that vaccine take-up “has gotten slower as persons perceive that the risk no longer exists or does not exist in a significant way as it did earlier”.
“COVID is still a threat. Although the numbers are low, people still die from COVID each day and there are still the vulnerabilities that those who have not been vaccinated will suffer from,” he pointed out while addressing a recent virtual COVID Conversations press briefing.
More than 1.39 million doses of vaccines have been administered, to date, comprising 687,499 first doses, 578,893 second doses, and 91,565 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. A total of 3,514 doses have been administered to immunocompromised persons.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, informed that approximately 670,177 or 25 per cent of Jamaicans are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19.
“We have an additional four per cent of persons who would have received one dose and need to complete their vaccination. That will take us overall to 29 per cent of our population that has been touched with vaccination. We really need to get those numbers up,” she noted.
In addition, she said that only 28,793 booster doses have been administered and encouraged persons who are eligible to get their shots.
Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said that St. Thomas and Portland account for the lowest vaccination numbers, followed by St. Catherine.
“If it is that we have an increase in the number of cases, St. Catherine will be a real threat because of the density of the population and the very low level of vaccine take-up,” she pointed out.
Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie noted, further, that a number of persons in the vulnerable over-60 age group remain unvaccinated and encouraged those who have received two vaccine doses to take the booster shot, “so you can keep your immunity up and keep yourselves out of hospitals in case of any other new variant”.
The Chief Medical Officer reiterated that an increase in vaccine take-up is critical in reducing the number of confirmed cases, the positivity and reproductive rates, and hopitalisation and deaths.
She pointed out that 98 per cent of persons who have died due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated, with 0.8 per cent partially vaccinated and 1.2 per cent fully vaccinated.
Contact: Chris Patterson
TCI Hospital’s Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) upgrade is on schedule
#TurksandCaicos, June 16, 2022 – InterHealth Canada Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital will soon have a new GE SIGNA™ 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, a development expected to significantly reduce wait times for patients visiting the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
First, the existing scanner was de-installed and required a crane to deposit the 20,000 pounds machine from the radiology department through a specially-cut hatch at the side waiting room wall for the safe navigation and removal of the old machine.
An intensive undertaking also included removing and replacing the RF Cage, which paves the way for quick installation of the new machine. The TCI Hospital’s RF Cage, which prevents radio frequency noise from entering the room and distorting the image of the MRI scan, is already on-site and is scheduled for installation by the end of June 2022 by the installation team from the United States. The works include the construction of the side walls, panelling, ceiling, illuminated picture and connections to ventilation.
In preparation for the day of delivery of the new MRI Machine by early July 2022, the TCI Hospital have also completed all electrical works.
The next step is the safe installation and connection of all components of the unit by GE contractors, followed by the final internal and external finishes, including the installation of fixtures and fittings such as coil storage cabinets and external cupboards and furniture. Once these last finishing touches are completed and checks completed, the MRI will be operational in early August 2022.
The radiology team have spent the past several months working in a much-reduced space to allow building work in preparation for the new MRI. In addition, the Imaging team have also undergone training and certifications in new software applications and MRI safety, with the IM&T and Biomedical Engineering teams to follow. All staff at the TCI will undergo safety MRI training.
The TCI Hospital is grateful for the support and understanding of the public and TCI Hospital colleagues during the disruption caused by this critical upgrade to the MRI Unit at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
Major Shortage; White House says hunt is on for Baby Food
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, May 14, 2022 – An Infant formula shortage in the U.S. exacerbated by the formula recall by Abbott Nutrition is threatening the lives of babies and worrying parents.
Last week 40 percent of formulas were out of stock in the U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Pesaki says the FDA is working hard to address the issue.
“What the FDA is doing includes working with major infant formula manufacturers to ensure they’re increasing production, because part of this issue is, of course, making sure there is stock on the shelves and working with the industry right now to optimize their supply lines, product sizes to increase capacity, and prioritizing product lines that are of greatest needs.”
Meanwhile Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides formula and other goods to low income mothers is warning against trying to make formula at home saying too much could go wrong.
“Your baby could suffer long-term harm if they do not get the right blend of nutrition. Even a short period of poor nutrition can be harmful. Do not try to make more formula by adding extra water. Adding extra water to formula is dangerous and can lead to very serious health problems.”
The Guardian reports that parents who are now traveling over state lines and using Facebook and EBay to secure formula, describe the situation as a ‘nightmare.’
Earth Day Immersion at Graceway Communities Marketplace
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, May 12, 2022 – The second staging of Graceway IGA’s Earth Day celebration was a success. It was hosted by the Graceway Communities (the philanthropic arm of Graceway Supermarkets) in association with the National Trust, Graceway Supermarkets, Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and Department of Agriculture.
The Market was designed to educate people about the environment, promote conservation, and encourage them to get involved and invest in the planet, act boldly, innovate and implement.
The event was supported by the community and others who came out in their numbers to buy fruits, seedlings, trees, plants, and other earth-friendly items, like ocean-friendly products that were being sold.
The winners of the Graceway Supermarkets Earth Day Art Competition 2022 were also announced. In first place was Chanel Missick from the Mills Institute, second place was Enarij Dickenson from Eliza Simmons Primary, and third place was Mavalicia Mullings from the Mills Institute.
Minister of Environment, Maritime and Disaster Management Josephine Connelly was also present at the celebration.
In giving her address at the event on April 22, Connelly said climate change is real and the Turks and Caicos Islands are low lying areas. As such, “we are susceptible to flood and high seas.” Therefore “the necessary mechanisms must be put in place to cope with what’s going on in our country.”
The Minister noted that the Charter launched at the Climate Change Summit is a guideline to mitigate what is happening in the TCI. She further mentioned that the TCI will be collaborating with all stakeholders and international organizations to unite as one where climate change is concerned.
She also encouraged everyone to play their part in Climate Change, stating that the easiest thing to do is to plant a tree.
Travel Designer at Luxury Experiences Turks, and Caicos, Val Kalliecharan, was also present at the Earth Day celebration. He said the initiative was impressive, and Graceway Supermarkets should “keep up the good job.”
The Turks and Caicos National Trust were the charity participant in the Earth Day celebrations.
The Trust expressed its gratitude to the Graceway Supermarkets for partnering with the organization’s mission to protect our environment.
“We are honoured for this recognition and most charitable donations that will help us to continue our important works, entrusted to us by our communities, we implore you to visit our website and become members of TCNT. More importantly, please contact us and find out how you can help us to preserve and protect our Wetlands, our environment and our beautiful by nature TCI,” said the Turks and Caicos National Trust.
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