The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. received last Friday an order for 3,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses, ensuring that it has enough doses to bring the CNMI beyond the target of 80% inoculations for the entire CNMI.
In explaining how COVID-19 vaccines for the CNMI are ordered, Heather S. Pangelinan, Maternal, Infant, Child, & Adolescent Health Programs administrator for CHCC, said that CHCC reviews past data on vaccinations completed, and orders vaccines based on projected need. By reviewing collected data, CHCC projects how many individuals will be vaccinated and how often to order more vaccine batches. The most recent order of vaccines was received on Sept. 3, where CHCC received 3,500 doses, she said.
Vaccines are ordered by CHCC directly through an online mechanism managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the orders are fulfilled by a U.S.-based vaccine manufacturer and flown out to the CNMI through United Airlines, Pangelinan said.
As for how the Pfizer vaccine’s ultra-cold temperature requirements are maintained during transit, Pangelinan explained that the vaccines are transported from the United States to the CNMI in thermal shipper boxes containing dry ice. The shipper boxes contain temperature logging devices with data logging capabilities, allowing CHCC to regularly monitor the storage temperatures of the vaccines all the way up to when it receives the delivery.
“CHCC reviews [these temperature data logs] to ensure that there were no temperature excursions and that the vaccines are safe for use,” said Pangelinan.