2.7K kid doses of Pfizer pre-ordered

COVID vaccines for 5-11 age group expected by early Nov.
Posted on Oct 27 2021

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. recently pre-ordered 2,700 doses of pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines intended for children aged 5 to 11 years old. CHCC’s pre-order comes in anticipation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approving the Pfizer vaccine for use in this age group, with U.S. health officials predicting that CDC approval may come as early as the first half of November.

During a radio news briefing last Friday, CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña said that children ineligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines have been a concern in regards to the spread of COVID-19, and that COVID-19 vaccines being made available to children aged 5 to 11 would boost the CNMI’s vaccination numbers.

As to where the first half of November timeline comes from, Muña explained that vaccine research on the age group will be first reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, then by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is under the CDC, and, if the findings are approved by ACIP, ACIP will make a recommendation to the CDC. Then, CDC director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky will make the ultimate decision whether or not to approve the use of COVID-19 vaccines in this age group.

The timeline of the entire process is projected to conclude in early November., said Muña. Anticipating the CDC approval, Muña first shared last Friday that CHCC was “already ordering supplies.”

“We are already ordering the supplies just to prepare for that, so that when November hits we are ready to distribute vaccines to the children,” said Muña.

In seeking clarity on what these “supplies” were, Saipan Tribune was told in an email Monday by Heather S. Pangelinan, who is the Maternal, Infant, Child, & Adolescent Health Programs administrator for CHCC—said that 2,700 pediatric doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were pre-ordered, and that these vaccines come with “ancillary supply kits such as needles, syringes, and other [personal protective equipment] for clinical staff to safely administer the vaccines.”

Pangelinan also spoke Monday on the possibility of rolling out vaccines in schools through already existing school-based clinics, saying that CHCC has been working closely with CNMI Public School System administration on the matter.

“We are in communication with PSS administration on coordinating school-based vaccination clinics to allow parents/caregivers the option of convenience for their children to be able to be vaccinated at school during school hours. We’ve done school-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics at all private schools and PSS middle and high schools in the CNMI, so this strategy would essentially be an expansion to the elementary schools that serve the 5–11-year-old populations,” said Pangelinan.

“School-based vaccination clinics is an option that is part of the CNMI’s overall strategy. In addition to school-based clinics, families can access COVID-19 vaccination through the current mass vaccination site at the [Pedro P. Tenorio] Multi-Purpose Center and the CHCC Immunization Clinic. We are also in the process of enrolling local pharmacies and additional private clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccinations,” she added.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.
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