12,400 vaccine doses arrive

Posted on Jan 11 2021

The CNMI received an additional 12,400 COVID-19 vaccine doses from both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Inc. last Saturday, which will allow the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to vaccinate a total of 6,200 people.

So far, a total of 18,650 vaccine doses have already been sent to the CNMI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency also states that, as of Jan. 10, the CNMI is leading in the national percentage of how many people have gotten vaccinated. The CNMI’s numbers are expected to rise even more as Tinian and Rota are expected to receive their doses this week.

Speaking at the radio briefing last Jan. 8, CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña stated that a total of 7,800 COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech have arrived, while 4,600 doses have arrived from Moderna Inc.

Muña also confirmed that vaccinations for those who fall within Phase 1A, which includes health care workers and first responders, continued this past weekend.

CHCC assures that the CNMI will get enough doses that will help vaccinate the entire CNMI population, which is roughly around 55,000 people.

“It’s just we don’t know when we’re going to get [the additional vaccines]. The numbers do change, and, again, I believe that was anticipated because of the requirement of having a phased approach in distributing the vaccines. So that’s why we have Phase 1A, 1B, and 1C and then Phase 2, and the two is the general population,” said Muña.

Warren Villagomez, who chairs the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, stressed that it’s important that those who have received their first doses do not miss their second shot.

“Please be mindful that [the] appointment schedule that’s given to you needs to be followed. …The call center is also reaching out to folks for callbacks to remind them as well,” said Villagomez.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres himself has already received his second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 last Jan. 9. “I feel good with a sense of relief that I’m taking this for my family and our Commonwealth. I continue to encourage our entire community to get vaccinated through our phase-based rollout. I thank [Muña, Villagomez], the support staff, call center, registration team, and, of course, our doctors and nurses for their hard work and dedication,” said Torres in Facebook post on the CNMI Office of the Governor’s official page.

In that same Facebook post, Torres stated that the CNMI’s mass vaccination approach is a combination of maximizing existing health care resources at CHCC and proactive procurement for necessary resources like medical tents for the Medical Care and Treatment Site that’s positioned outside the main hospital and cold storage units for the vaccine.

Additionally, the approach is further strengthened by the collaboration with private sector partners and an effective public information campaign, built on CHCC’s public health educational outreach.

The CNMI’s vaccination strategy is predicated on the existing whole-of-community approach that was initiated since the beginning of the pandemic, said Torres.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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