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In Six Weeks, COVID vaccine mandate for entry to TCI expires; former minister says it will likely fall away

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 17, 2022 – It is very likely that vaccine mandates will not be renewed come January after they expire at the end of the year, according to Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development Jamell Robinson.

Robinson was speaking in his former remit as Minister of Health on Radio Turks and Caicos with Cheryl Foreman during the program First Edition just hours before accepting his new PPID role and he insisted that the TCI was following the science in response to comments made previously by the Leader of the Opposition.

Edwin Astwood, Leader of the People’s Democratic Movement, PDM had questioned why recovered individuals were not allowed into Turks and Caicos, which still mandates that all travellers to the British Overseas territory be fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

Responding to when the TCI would drop the mandates completely Minister Robinson said, “The regulations end on December 31st– all things considered they will fall away because I know that some residents are questioning it, a lot of people keep on asking when are we gonna get rid of it because I know they see other countries dropping the mandates.”

He insisted that the TCI had already gotten rid of ‘a lot of the regulations’ including mandatory testing and the registration portal. The vaccine mandate was the last main mode of protection and then people would be directly responsible for their own health.

“We just have to be mindful that the Turks and Caicos has a unique situation even though COVID isn’t officially over, we are in a place where we can manage it so unless something significant happens at the end of the year, those restrictions will fall away.”

This means the Turks and Caicos will finally open its borders to unvaccinated homeowner investors, who have not been able to visit their properties since the mandate was instituted in 2021.

Government

FDA decides to streamline COVID vaccines, what that means for Everyone

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

 

#USA, February 2, 2023 – In a nine-hour meeting on Thursday, an external advisory panel of experts brought in by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted to simplify and regularize vaccine composition so that all COVID shots are similar and focus on targeting the same variants.

Three years into the fight against COVID-19, this will very likely mean the permanent end of the original monovalent shots rolled out to fight the disease in late 2020; in the US at least.

With the advent of Omicron and all the vaccine elusive sub-variants it spawned, the efficacy of those original vaccines plummeted.  Bivalent vaccines were quickly developed and with them the FDA and US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) rescind the emergency use and authorization use of the original monovalent as booster shots; effectively barring them from being administered as anything but primary doses for the unvaccinated.

If the FDA accepts this vote it would mean unvaccinated US residents would now be given bivalent primary doses from the get-go.  For the North American country which still has a vaccine mandate in place for visitors, it could also prompt tweaking of the definition of fully vaccinated which currently means having a primary series of the monovalent shot.

The decision to simplify the vaccines would pare down the number of vials and measuring healthcare workers have to contend with; a move the FDA is hoping will lead to fewer vaccine administering mistakes as well.

The FDA has not yet made a decision on the once-yearly COVID shot proposal which was also on the table.  The attendees cited new concerns brought up in the meeting including the variation of protection needed between healthy people and those with comorbidities and more.

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Bahamas News

Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
 
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
 
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
 
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
 
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
 
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
 
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
 
 
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
 
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Health

Women 30x more likely for UTIs; Learn More

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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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