By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 22, 2022 – Turks and Caicos’ Covid-19 vaccine cabinet is now officially restocked, and it includes the omicron resistant and children’s doses flown to the islands from the UK.
The bivalent shots which fight both the original variant of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant including the BA.4 and BA.5 variants landed in Providenciales on a British Airways flight on Monday, according to Nigel Dakin, Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Included along with the 1,000 Moderna bivalent vaccines are 1,170 Pfizer original vaccines which are now only authorized to be used as first doses, and 300 Pfizer pediatric vaccines.
During the update, Dakin reflected on the value of vaccine shipments to the TCI in early 2021; British overseas territories were the first in the region to get the vaccine.
The governor said given the miniscule amount of beds available countrywide; only 30, serving 50,000 residents and over 500,000 stopover visitors a year.
“We take both resident and visitor health very seriously and not many nation states have to work through these types of lopsided proportions between residents and visitors and then link that to limited hospital facilities. The vaccines seriously reduced our risks of hospitalization and therefore allowed us to be far more confident in welcoming the world,” he said.
Tourism in the Turks and Caicos even with the vaccine mandate, some may argue because of it, surged to record levels in 2021 and the trend is expected to hold steady.
While the Turks and Caicos is one of the most vaccinated populations, enthusiasm for boosters remains decidedly low.
At the last update from the Health Ministry in summer, only around 7,000 or 23 percent of the vaccinated population was boosted and in terms of those who were double vaxxed, the numbers were even lower, only 2,939 or around nine percent of the population.
Governor Dakin was among the first in TCI to put confidence in the vaccine, despite widespread skepticism and announced that again, he and Mandy were all set to take the jab; their fifth shot with no complications reported by the couple.
Men Watch Out, OBESITY stunts your sex drive!
By Dana Malcolm
December 8, 2022 – Testosterone levels sink when obesity is at play in men, Doctors advise men keep weight down and muscles hard and lean to avoid ED and prostate cancer.
If you suffer from Obesity this means you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more depending on your weight and height. Whether it’s from beer, a desk job which encourages a sedentary lifestyle or one too many slices of pie, many people gain weight as they age.
In the Caribbean we have some of the highest levels of obesity in the world according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency and for men it can cause a host of dangerous side effects. This theory is supported by a study from Harvard University explained that while obesity affects men and women about the same amount, men bore a particular burden, since obesity takes a special toll on male hormones, sexuality, and prostate health.
The study explained that the effects of obesity on testosterone levels can be extreme, lowering them faster than even age. Testosterone is directly related to men’s sex drive, their body’s fat distribution, muscle mass and strength and the production of red blood cells and sperm.
In addition to low testosterone, obese men are more at risk for erectile dysfunction (ED), kidney stones and lower levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) this antigen is extremely important as it helps doctors detect if you have prostate cancer. Obesity raises your risk of heart disease, hypertension and other serious health effects.
So what can you do?
- See a doctor or nurse who will calculate your BMI and help you create healthy targets hit in your journey.
- If you’re uncomfortable, calculate your BMI at home and start to make some healthy lifestyle changes
- Lifestyle changes that can help with obesity include eating regular healthy meals at mealtimes instead of lots of sugar filled snacks. Focusing on fresh fruits and veggies instead of processed food. Eat fibre fresh foods which will keep you feeling full. Drink lots of water
- Try to get your body moving more exercise is key for losing weight
- If you find going to the gym difficult incorporate exercise into activities that you find enjoyable. Join an adult football league, start jogging, play tennis, go swimming. If you enjoy it you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Don’t focus on the scale. Losing weight isn’t the only goal, maintaining healthy habits will help you more in the long run. Focus on creating healthy habits and those will eventually lead to weight loss as disappointment stemming from weight loss that is not immediate may discourage you initially.
One Scottish study suggests that when men get together to exercise, it could be more effective than exercising alone. So grab your friends and work with each other to get yourselves as healthy as possible.
Imagine a World with NO MORE HIV/AIDS; the race for a Vaccine heats up
By Dana Malcolm
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.
Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose
By Dana Malcolm
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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