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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.

Government

Ministry of Health and Human Services in Collaboration with UK Health Security Agency conducts Migrant Health needs Assessment  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services has partnered with a team from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) Public Health Programme to conduct a health needs assessment for communities in informal settlements throughout the TCI.  This project was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and has taken place through a series of consultations and meetings in order to assess health needs and propose recommendations to address gaps in access to health care.

A steering committee supported the preliminary discussions on developing the scope and direction for the assessment and included representation from the TCI from Dr. Dawn O’Sullivan, Dr. Camelia Clarke (Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit), Mrs. Aldora Robinson (Former Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit) and Dr. Nadia Astwood (Chief Medical Officer).

This project culminated in an in-country visit by a team which included: Annabel Grieve (Programme Management Lead), Dr. Amoolya Vusirikala (Public Health Registrar) and Allegra Chatterjee (Epidemiologist) with earlier support provided by Dr. Natalie Wright, Health Protection Lead and Consultant in Global Public Health with the UK Overseas Territories, Global Operations. The visit, which began on January 21st 2024 and concluded this week, saw a number of in-person consultations with key stakeholders across sectors, as well as community focus groups conducted in Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Following the visit, the team paid a courtesy call to the Hon. Minister of Health and Human Services, Shaun D Malcolm and the Executive Team from the Ministry of Health and Human Services, to provide a high level debrief and presentation of the preliminary findings of the assessment. Following further analysis of the findings of the visit, a final report will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Human Services which will provide a number of conclusions as well as evidence-based recommendations for consideration by the Government.

Commenting on the visit, Hon. Shaun D Malcolm stated that “we welcome this support from UKHSA and FCDO with whom the Ministry of Health has enjoyed a close working relationship and technical support over the years, to formally assess the health needs of this population in order to ensure that the overall health of our population can be addressed in a holistic manner to ensure that universal access to health care is addressed.”

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Conrad Forbes appointed Principal of A. Louise Garland-Thomas High School  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Conrad Forbes as the new Principal of A. Louise Garland-Thomas High School within the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport, and Social Services.

Mr. Forbes is a forward-thinking educational leader with a proven record of success. His journey in education began at Florida Atlantic University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2000 and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2003. Additionally, Mr. Forbes is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry at Liberty University.

Mr. Forbes possesses a diverse skill set that includes instructional plan implementation, faculty development, school management, professional and ethical leadership. With over two decades of experience in education, Mr. Forbes has demonstrated his commitment to providing quality education and fostering positive learning environments. Throughout a notable tenure at Broward County Public Schools from 2006 to 2019, Mr. Forbes excelled as an Assistant Principal. He supervised educational programs for a Magnet Montessori Pre-K-8 school, initiated teacher mentor programs, and played a crucial role in curriculum alignment, faculty development, and fostering a cohesive school culture.

Mr. Forbes’s leadership journey continued as an Assistant Principal at Seminole County Public Schools, Bear Lake Elementary in Apopka, Florida, from 2019 to 2021. Here, he managed organizational processes, recruited effective faculty, and improved the learning environment, demonstrating a commitment to quality education.

Mr. Forbes expanded his impact by serving as the Dean of Students in the School Board of Osceola County from 2022 to 2023. Here, he successfully managed school operations, student discipline, and provided training to faculty on classroom management strategies.

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr. Forbes expressed, “It is with great humility and honor that I undertake the position of Principal at A. Louise Garland Thomas High School. With over twenty-three years of experience as an educator and administrator, I hold a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership. I have worked in both primary and secondary levels and in culturally diverse communities.

As an educator, I have always been committed to promoting a conducive environment that encourages student achievement. My family’s native land is the Turks and Caicos Islands, and I am eager to make a positive impact on my community. In my experience, building robust relationships with the school’s stakeholders such as staff, students, parents, and partners is a critical component of high-performing schools. Therefore, I intend to continue the proud traditions of A. Louise Garland Thomas High School by upholding established relationships and creating new ones.”

Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, congratulated Mr. Conrad Forbes on his appointment, stating: “It is a pleasure to welcome Mr. Conrad Forbes to the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service as the new Principal of the A. Louise Garland-Thomas High School within the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport, and Social Services.

Mr. Forbes brings along with him a wealth of experience from the education sector in United Stated as well as experience from his work with young men through various programs. We know that his presence at the high school will provide great value to the continued work of the school, and he will lead the charge to continue to strengthen the quality of education and learning at the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School.”

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Aniquia Musgrove appointed as Medical Records Manager  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Aniquia Musgrove as the Medical Records Manager within the Ministry of Health and Human Services.

In 2018, Ms. Musgrove seized the opportunity to pursue higher education at Florida Technical College, where she successfully graduated with a Medical Assistant Associate degree. Undeterred in her quest for knowledge, she continued her educational journey at the same esteemed institution, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health Management in 2019.

Armed with these qualifications, Ms. Musgrove gained comprehensive insights into various aspects of the health field, preparing her to perform proficiently in diverse departments. Her dedication led her to Holy Cross Medical Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she assumed the role of Supervisor for medical assistants in 2019. During her four-year tenure, she actively engaged in all facets of clinic operations, ranging from front office duties to back office responsibilities and direct patient assistance.

Grateful for the enriching experience at Holy Cross, Ms. Musgrove’s skills and expertise were further honed, preparing her for her current role as the Medical Records Manager. In her new capacity, Ms. Musgrove brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience, promising to contribute significantly to the Ministry’s health initiatives. Her commitment to healthcare excellence and her diverse skill set make her a valuable addition to the Ministry of Health and Human Services.

Ms. Aniquia Musgrove expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm, stating: “Accepting this appointment to return home and work in the medical field is indeed a privilege. It is an opportunity that allows me to give back to the country that helped mold me into the individual I am today. Lastly, I am sure that my late grandmother, Marjorie Clare, would be proud of me, knowing that I am walking in the path that she has laid.” Ms. Musgrove’s heartfelt sentiments reflect her commitment to making a meaningful impact on her community and honoring the legacy of those who have influenced her journey.

Commenting on the appointment of Ms. Aniquia Musgrove as the Medical RecordsManager, Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service expressed her congratulations, stating: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Aniquia Musgrove to the role of Medical Records Manager within the Ministry of Health and Human Services and welcome her to the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service.

Her experience and dedication to the medical field make her a valuable addition to our team. We look forward to her contributions in enhancing healthcare services for our community and wish her a most productive and rewarding public service career.

Congratulations, Ms. Musgrove, on your well-deserved appointment.”

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