Monkeypox is Spreading Globally. What You Need to Know about the Sudden Outbreak

Monkeypox, a common virus in Central and West Africa, is increasing in several countries in Europe and now in the United States of America.

There have been more than 100 cases reported worldwide and the UK Health Security Agency says the outbreak is “significant and concerning” though the risk to its population “remains low.”

The first case was discovered in a man from Massachusetts who traveled from Canada, and a recent case was detected in Florida.

Though anyone is susceptible to the virus, experts say most of the cases were found in gay men.

President Joe Biden said “people should be careful” but it does not “rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with Covid-19.”

Belgium, with four cases reported on Monday, though, is taking precautions and is the first country to introduce a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients.  Close contacts are not required to self-isolate.

How Monkeypox spreads

Experts said the virus does not seem to spread easily between people but can spread through close physical contact with somebody infected.

The early symptoms are the flu, fever and chills, and a rash that can spread from the face to other parts of the body.

The rash of raised spots turns into blisters which clear up within two to four weeks.

Experts say the smallpox vaccine can be used to help limit the spread.

President Biden said vaccines were being offered to close contacts but there were no plans for an “at scale” vaccination program.

“We do have vaccines procured at significant numbers but given the nature of this and how we know it’s spreading, it’s thought to be no clinical requirement for that sort of at scale campaign,” he said.

Some People Who Do Not Trust Vaccines are Turning to Controversial Ivermectin Drug to Treat COVID-19.

A Bahamian group is advocating the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients in the country.

Optimist is offering this alternative treatment for the infectious disease as the government lobbies for more people to become vaccinated.

The group is made up of doctors, medical professionals, pastors and lawyers who have banded together to promote Ivermectin with other therapeutics to fight the disease.

The group said it “has no intention of being political or labeled as antivax but as concerned doctors and citizens who believe greater measures are being called for than the limited vaccine only strategy.”

Vaccine proponents have championed the drug as a “miracle drug” while some health authorities say the promoters of the drug rely on serious errors in a number of key studies to support its use.

What is Ivermectin?

The drug is not new but has been used for centuries as an anti-parasitic medicine for both humans and horses.

Ivermectin for humans are tablets that have been approved at specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and topical formulas for skin conditions like rosacea and head lice.

The animal formula is as pour-on, injectable and paste, are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals.

Every version of the drug is being used by some people to treat COVID-19.

Is it approved for COVID-19?

Countries like India and Slovakia have permitted the medication to treat COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA has not approved or authorized the drug and has stated it has not been shown to be effective or safe against COVID-19.

Clinical trials to evaluate it for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 are still ongoing.

Reports show that taking large doses of Ivermectin is dangerous and has resulted in death in some people.

Why are proponents embracing Ivermectin?

For some reason during the pandemic, anti-vaxers embraced it to fight COVID-19.  The frenzy to use it has circulated social media.

It is readily available and inexpensive.

The Bahamian group, Optimist, says it believes a push for the drug, will help to save more lives and keep people out of the hospital. And it is taking a stand against “a mandatory vaccination programme” which it believes impedes constitutional liberties.


Minnis and Davis Have Different Campaign Styles, but Both Battle Over Vaccinations

As the Free National Movement hosted another night of its drive-in rallies in Eleuthera, the Progressive Liberal Party opted for a different campaign, a television-style programme to highlight the government’s “failures” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After putting its drive-in rallies on hold, citing high cases of death and hospitalizations in the country due to COVID-19, PLP Leader Philip Davis faced the camera to deliver a critical message of the government’s handling of the pandemic and the collapsing health care system.

“Why is the competent Authority dancing, instead of fixing the problems? Where is his sense of urgency? Where is his sense of decency? …Don’t tell me it had to be this bad,” Davis said while looking onto the lens of a camera to his supporters.

Davis said if the PLP is elected to govern the country, it will implement measures besides vaccinations, to fight the infectious disease, which would include high-quality masks, educational town hall meetings on vaccines, and ventilation and air filtration measures to reduce virus particles in facilities. Davis said vaccinations alone won’t prevent the spread of the virus.

While on a stage in Eleuthera as supporters sat in their cars and blew horns, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said vaccinations are the only way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnis prided his government’s securement of nearly half a million doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

He dismissed Davis’ ability to lead the country in the middle of a pandemic, citing his “lousy” representation of Cat Island and San Salvador.

“Davis can only show plans of what could have been done (in Cat Island and San Salvador). He was deputy prime minister and minister of works. He did not use his power to help his people

“A lousy MP will make a lousy prime minister.”

Indian-Made AstraZeneca May Not Be Accepted for EU Travel

Bahamians vaccinated with the Indian-made Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine could face challenges travelling to some European countries due to the EU making a distinction between brands of the controversial vaccine.

Though the Indian-made AstraZeneca was authorized in the EU, UK and the World Health Organization, the EU is making a distinction between the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India and the vaccine made in Europe.

It is worth noting that both the AstraZeneca versions are chemically the same but with new labeling and packaging.

Europe has since changed its European manufactured version of AstraZeneca to Vaxzevria, their brand name for the vaccine, and prefers this brand of the vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The problem

The Serum Institute that made the Indian version has not yet published the complete trial results. Each brand must supply its own efficacy data, and crucially, apply for its own authorization with the relevant authorities.

Voting in a Pandemic? Advance Polls to Open for 65-Years and Older

Three days after Prime Minister Hubert Minister announced an early election, he allayed fears, assuring voters of the polls’ safety as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a national address on Sunday, Minnis call on all eligible Bahamians to vote.

Minnis said advance voting privileges will be afforded to people 65 years and older, which will reduce the number of people at the polls on the same date.

The big picture

An early election will be on September 16, eight months before schedule.

It will particularly be an interesting election since the Bahamas is in the middle of a pandemic and Bahamians have never had to vote amid a pandemic.

Politicians will face the challenge of holding campaigns and rallies to reach voters. Minnis reiterated the Emergency Order which stipulates that all campaigners must be in groups of five and fully vaccinated.

Governor General Contracts Breakthrough Case of COVID-19

Governor-General C.A Smith has contracted a breakthrough case of the coronavirus after being vaccinated.

A press release from Government House said Smith was tested on Friday after coming in contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive.

His results came back on Sunday confirming a positive result.

Smith is not experiencing any symptoms and is quarantined.

It was not revealed where Smith contracted the virus.

Exuma Community Remembers Doctor Who Died From COVID-19 Amid Vaccine Plea

An Exuma-based doctor has died from COVID-19, as health officials press for Bahamians to become vaccinated.

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, Chair National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee disclosed the death of Charles Wildgoose, a doctor in Exuma at the Di-ara Comprehensive Medical Center.

Dahl-Regis said she was informed of his death before speaking at the health update on Sunday afternoon.

Wildgoose was among two other healthcare workers infected with the virus and hospitalized, which included another doctor and a nurse.

Dahl-Regis stated that none of the healthcare workers were vaccinated, included Wildgoose.

Chief Medical Officer Pearl McMillan said just over 50 percent of healthcare workers are vaccinated.

“We have a long way to go. This is of grave concern as it relates to getting healthcare workers vaccinated,” McMillan said.

Speaking directly to healthcare workers, she said, “We must, we must colleagues, we must become vaccinated.”

Meantime, Exuma MP Chester Cooper described Wildgoose as a “calm and caring physician and a progressive entrepreneur who consistently wanted to expand and improve medical care in Exuma.”

FNM candidate for Exuma Jenny Isaacs-Dotson said Wildgoose’s death will have a “great impact on the Exuma community.”

What You Should Know About Pfizer

Over 108,000 Bahamian citizens and residents have received one or two shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine to prevent contracting COVID19.

AstraZeneca was the first vaccine introduced to the Bahamas. Now, Bahamian citizens and residents have another option, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will be distributed on Monday.

Get the vaccine and know the facts:

  • The Pfizer vaccine is reported to be 85% effective after the first dose, based on research by an Israeli study published in The Lancet medical journal. But, do not delay the second shot.

A study of more than 19,000 teens and adults across the United Kingdom shows that two shots are necessary for good protection against the Delta variant. Reports show that when patients are fully vaccinated, with two weeks to take effect, the Pfizer vaccine was about 88% effective against the Delta variant.

  • With Pfizer, you are likely to experience side effects, similar to AstraZeneca. The most common symptoms are fatigue, pain at the injection site, and headaches.

Unlike Astra Zeneca, the symptoms can show up at different times. With AstraZeneca, the symptoms happen after the first shot. However, with Pfizer, the symptoms tend to happen after the second jab.

  • Pfizer vaccines can present risks. Rare reports of heart inflammation called myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart membrane called pericarditis have been linked to the vaccine. Symptoms associated with this are mild but they include shortness of breath, chest pain, and palpitations.

The risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis occurs within a week after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and appears to resolve itself.

Minnis on the Arrival of Pfizer: ‘You Don’t Have Time to Wait Any Longer’

A shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the Bahamas on Thursday morning, in preparation for its early distribution next week.

128,700 doses were donated by the US government to assist the Bahamas in its vaccination drive.

This first batch of vaccines is part of the 397,000 doses donated by the US government and is a part of nearly 837,000 doses delivered to Caribbean countries.

The Bahamas is among the first Caribbean countries to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis
Usha Pitts US Chargé d’Affaires

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said the batch will help to vaccinate half of the population and meet the demands that exist.

He pleaded with Bahamians to get vaccinated.

“You do not have any time to wait any longer. You do not have time to keep thinking about it. The hospital is filled to its limit. Sadly some people are dying.

“Taking shots will save your life.”


Sands Gets 3rd Vaccine Shot for Stronger Immune Response Against COVID-19

Former Minister of Health Duane Sands received a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine after he got two shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Sands revealed his decision to mix and match vaccines during his presentation in the House of Assembly as he made his case for COVID-19 vaccines as infections surge in the country.

It is not known the time frame in which Sands received the booster shot of Pfizer but he said it became necessary as a doctor working with COVID-19 patients.

“I like many other people are fully vaccinated. But because I happen to spend so much time in the belly of the beast…I have gone a little bit further. So I have received two AstraZeneca shots and one Pfizer shot.”

Sands said he does not suggest that individuals take three shots, but he is convinced that vaccination is an integral part of getting out of the pandemic.

“If we are going to get out of this mess, then vaccination is going to be a critical part of the way forward.”

Experts vary on whether or not people should mix and match vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization advised against mixing and matching doses due to a lack of evidence.

WHO’s chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan cautioned that taking additional doses beyond the two-dose regimen or mixing and matching vaccines is “a little bit of a dangerous trend.”

However, experts like Dr. Vin Gupta, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said he is advising patients who got J&J to get a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA dose to combat delta.

Researchers from Oxford University recently published findings that combining the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine generates a “robust” immune response against the virus.