The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. predicts to have 95% of the CNMI population vaccinated by 2021.
According to CHCC spokesperson Lee Tenorio, the overall goal is to have the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone in the CNMI.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine is being provided to the CNMI by the U.S. government, it will be available free of charge to all people living in the CNMI.
According to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, his administration and CHCC will be coming out with community outreach for the vaccination, which is expected to be around this week. The outreach for the vaccine is meant to educate the community.
“We always hear that our new norm will stay, unless we have a vaccine to go back to our old norm. Now that we have this opportunity, I hope that our community, our business partners, our media partners will disseminate the appropriate information, and perhaps the encouragement of having this vaccine across our community, because it will be safer for all of us,” said Torres.
Right now, the vaccine’s maker, Pfizer, is asking the Federal Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization that will allow the vaccine’s use in the community.
When asked if there will be people who will go through a trial before releasing it to the community, Tenorio stated that there are many tests, clinical trials, and data being collected in the U.S. mainland to fulfill the Emergency Use Authorization process.
“Administering a safe and effective vaccine is our top priority. We are looking at guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and monitoring the vaccine safety data that is available to the public before considering COVID-19 vaccine administration in the CNMI,” said Tenorio.
The COVID-19 vaccine approach will be implemented in a three-phased approach:
Phase 1: People working in health care settings, first responder agencies, essential workers, and vulnerable populations. CHCC will make the COVID-19 vaccines available to people working in health care settings as they are responsible for providing care and dealing directly with patients who may be at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. This effort will engage both private and public health care providers to ensure all health care workers in the CNMI are protected as they continue to provide care to the sick and ailing. CHCC will also engage first responders on a series approach where they will prioritize those who are directly involved in the CNMI’s preparedness and response efforts to combat COVID-19. Essential workers and vulnerable populations will also begin to be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Phase 2: This will cover the remainder of Phase one, which is the initiation of the general population. The COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be offered to essential workers and people living with underlying health conditions. CHCC will begin to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to the general population.
Phase 3 – Remainder of Phase 2. CHCC’s overall goal is to have the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone living in the CNMI.