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‘CHCC can vaccinate 400 people a day’

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Posted on Jan 13 2021

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With 12,400 COVID-19 new vaccines on hand, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. said it can inoculate 400 persons per day, according to CHCC chief operations officer Subroto Banerji, who spoke at the Rotary Club of Saipan’s weekly meeting yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan in Garapan.

Responding to a comment of a Rotary member (that he read that there were 12,400 doses that the CNMI received last Saturday, but when he went online to register, the site said that there were no more), Banerji clarified that the site won’t allow people to register if there are no available vaccine slots.

He said there are 125 people working on vaccine operations at the Medical Care and Treatment Site at the upper parking lot of the Commonwealth Health Center who are administering 400 doses per day. This includes call center, registration, check-in, vaccination, observation, and data management.

Before getting vaccinated, Banerji stated that there’s a lot of planning that happens before a person gets injected. He added that the steps (not in order) are vaccine preparation, vaccine delivery, registering, documentation of how many people got dose 1 and dose 2, etc.

It gets even more complicated. Now that CHCC has to administer doses 1 and dose 2, Banerji said they now have to plan strategically for both doses. “[We] realize that has to be a combination of new doses, and then 21 days later, we have to do the second doses. So if we go for 400 every day, we have to bring 400 people back 21 days later,” said Banerji.

As an example, a graph that Banerji showed Saipan Tribune illustrated that if there are 374 people who are scheduled for dose 2, CHCC can only accept 26 people for dose 1. Today, Jan. 13, CHCC has 449 people scheduled for dose 2, which means that dose 1 slots are no longer available.

Banerji said that since CHCC and the COVID-19 Task Force will be supporting this initiative for the better part of 2021, vaccinating more than 400 per day would require resources not readily available nor sustainable for 12 months. Additionally, CHCC is required to update vaccination data daily for the CDC and Operation Warp Speed.

According to Banerji, CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña advocated getting a bulk shipment of COVID-19 vaccines instead of weekly shipments like the United States as this will help them plan strategically when planning for dose 1 and dose 21.

If the CNMI were to receive weekly shipments, Banerji said that CHCC won’t be able to plan effectively for the first and second doses.

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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