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UK approves Omicron booster ahead of Vaccine Drive

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, August 21, 2022 – The United Kingdom has become the first country to approve Moderna’s new omicron fighting booster; the announcement was made in a press release on Monday.

The Bivalent booster vaccine is a mixture of the original vaccine and a new omicron fighting vaccine  to give protection against both the older variants and Omicron.

“A booster with the bivalent Moderna vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 strain. In an exploratory analysis the bivalent vaccine was also found to generate a good immune response against the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.”

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency also maintained that no new side effects were recorded and the ones that were recorded were mild and self-resolving

“What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve,” Dr. June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said.

The UK is set to start its autumn booster drive in several weeks in an effort to protect the most vulnerable against a possible wave of COVID-19 as the flu season approaches.

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Health

31 Turks & Caicos Medical Professionals, Trained in Trauma care

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Dana Malcolm 
Staff Writer 

In a first for the Turks and Caicos and one that some would describe as particularly important, over three dozen healthcare professionals were upskilled in emergency trauma care via Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) certification.

Trauma Care in emergency medicine usually refers to treating patients who are critically ill or have severe injuries and need to be quickly stabilized like gunshot wounds, damaged limbs, crush injuries, and stab wounds.

In 1976 following a plane crash involving a surgeon and his children who experienced substandard trauma care, the first ATLS course was created. It attempts to provide basic training for medical professionals when dealing with acute trauma cases where there is little staff on hand. In fact ATLS is supposed to work with as little as a single doctor and nurse team working together to stop the most critical injuries first, ensuring a better chance of survival.

This is particularly useful for the Turks and Caicos with its small hospitals and limited staff. Health officials admitted this, highlighting what they describe as ‘the pressing need for such training, particularly due to physician shortage, isolated communities in family islands and other barriers to accessing this critical training.’

Recognizing the need, the Hamilton Education Foundation jumped into action, and in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the American College of Surgeons conducted a Hybrid Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Demo for 31 doctors in the Turks and Caicos Islands on May 22nd and 23rd, 2024.

Led by Professor Susan Briggs,the foundation describes the course as historic in that it’s the first-ever done outside the United States and says it is;“Crucial for enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery and saving lives in the face of increasing intentional and unintentional injuries.”

With the rise in gunshot injuries in the country, seen through police data since 2020 many residents might be inclined to agree.

While admitting it was difficult to measure if ATLS reduced mortality, a 2016 article published in the National Library of Medicine describes the courses as “very useful from an educational point of view. It significantly increased knowledge, and improved practical skills and the critical decision making process in managing multiple trauma patients”

Rufus Ewing, Former Premier and Executive Chairman of the Hamilton Education Foundation, said, “This initiative aligns with our mission to enhance medical education and improve access to quality healthcare services in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The training received broad brush support from the Ministry of Health, TCI Hospital and private sector.

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Caribbean News

Dengue surges in Argentina; Repellent shortage reported

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#Argentina, April 15, 2024 – Argentina is currently facing a shortage in mosquito repellents, a severely unfortunate development for the nation as it is now fighting a surge in dengue cases, in-line with PAHO predictions that the region will face its worst dengue season on record.

The mosquito repellent shortage was reportedly noticed in March 2024 and Argentina, according to the Ministry of Health, recorded over 163,000 cases with deaths in all age groups, more common for those over 80 years old.

The situation is widespread across Argentina as indicated by supermarkets putting on display “no repellent” signs.

Places where repellents are still available,  online spaces especially, are selling them at high prices.

As to the reason behind the shortage, BBC reports that it was told by one of the production companies (for repellents), that a forecast error was at fault and that manufacturing took months.  Additionally, mirroring this,  Mario Russo reports a supply and demand problem.

The Government is making efforts to have this sorted as soon as possible, but Argentinians, reports say, are not so hopeful as hundreds of thousands have already been infected.

Preventative measures such as repellents are crucial for Argeniniand who reply heavily on them, as they await the dengue vaccine which is already developed, but still In its early stages of distribution.

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Caribbean News

Yellow Fever Outbreak in Region and Beyond, Travellers Warned

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#YellowFever#Caribbean, April 10, 2024 – Reports say there is an outbreak of Yellow fever in the Caribbean according to the Department of Health and official government advice website, Travel Health Pro, and travelers are being warned to be vigilant. The authorities say the outbreak is also in parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

Guyana and Peru so far have seen two cases. Brazil reports the disease in monkeys, an indication that it is spreading across the ccounty. Colombia has seen 3 cases.

In South America, between January 1 and March 18 2024, there have been seven confirmed cases, four fatal.

Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and can cause potentially fatal hemorrhagic illness. Fortunately, it can be prevented with vaccination and so the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people ages nine months and older, traveling to the affected areas, to get vaccinated.

 

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