The federal government has mandated implementing booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccines starting in the week of Sept. 20, but the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has yet to announce when such booster shots will be made available to the general public in the CNMI.
Saipan Tribune was told yesterday that CHCC is currently waiting on guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the matter. Currently, CHCC is already offering booster shots for the CNMI’s immunocompromised.
Booster shots are an additional shot of a vaccine that is administered to further increase an individual’s protection from certain viruses and bacteria. In terms of COVID-19, a third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine would allow for better protection from the virus’ many variants.
Last Aug. 18 CHCC announced that it will begin offering a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for those in the CNMI who are moderate to severely immunocompromised—those with impaired immune systems either from a disease or a medication they are taking.
CHCC on Aug. 18 also announced that the third dose must be administered at least 28 days after an individual received their two shots of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines. At the time, CHCC said that there is no additional dose advised for those who received a Johnson & Johnson or Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, and shared that the CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots of a COVID-19 vaccine for those who are not immunocompromised.