With more and more people being vaccinated in the CNMI, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. assures that anyone in the CNMI will have the same type of vaccine on their first and second dose.
CHCC took to Facebook to announce on its page that they will follow the manufacturer’s recommendations of both vaccines and efficacy.
“Every day we hear of other jurisdictions mixing and matching Pfizer and Moderna doses because the supply of each is limited. Since the beginning, both manufacturers and the FDA have advised to not mix and match vaccine options,” said the CHCC statement.
In a separate interview two weeks ago with CHCC chief operating officer Subroto Banerji, he said that if they receive a box of 1,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, CHCC will automatically set aside the number they will need for the second dose. Since the Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, if CHCC gets 1,000 doses, they would have to set aside 500 to administer for the second dose.
Banerji stated that they’ve been hearing that other jurisdictions have been vaccinating their population with whatever vaccine they have on hand for their first dose, but there are instances where they don’t give the same vaccine for their second dose as they did on the first dose.
“We’re hearing folks are combining Pfizer and Madonna at the same time, and so we don’t want to do that,” said Banerji, adding that the solution to ensure that CHCC has the same vaccine for both doses is to have bulk shipment.
“We can start getting our shipments in bulk because that will allow us to plan much more into the future and be able to tell the community, ‘This is what we’re going to be able to do in January, February, March, and April. …That’s where we’re aiming to get to so that the community can tell where they can fit into the different phases,” said Banerji.
According to CHCC, the vaccines are proven 95% effective in clinical trials when the same vaccine is administered and following the recommended 21 days (Pfizer) and 28 days (Moderna) apart between doses.
“The efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine when extended past the manufacturer’s recommended second dose date has not been established. At this time the CHCC will continue to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dose schedule,” said CHCC.
CHCC also announced that Phase 1B eligibility for Saipan only has been expanded to include persons 55 years old or older, and CNMI infrastructure workers across public and private sectors.
For persons 55 years or older, use code OVER55 to register. For CNMI infrastructure workers, use code CISA1B to register.