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CNMI to resume J&J vaccination

‘CNMI advances to Level 1 for low risk’ CHCC releases updated traveler protocols
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Posted on Apr 28 2021

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As the CNMI advances to a Level 1 for low risk of COVID-19 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel health notice list, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña said CHCC will resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Muña confirmed that CHCC will resume the Janssen vaccine following recommendations from CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift the pause on the single-dose vaccine

According to CDC and FDA, they have determined that use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine should be resumed in the United States; FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19; the FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.

CDC and FDA said at this time, the available data suggest that the chance of thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome– a condition that causes low blood clots and low platelets– occurring is very low, but they will continue to investigate this risk.

The pause was recommended earlier this month after reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals following administration of the Janssen vaccine.

According to Muña, they will resume the use of the vaccine and will make sure that everything is okay after the shot. Muña did not further comment on the issue and recommended to wait for a press release.

As of press time, there was no statements or press releases from CHCC, the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, or the Torres administration.

CNMI moves to Level 1

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently lowered the CNMI to Level 1 category on its Travel Health Notice list for low risk of COVID-19.

To achieve Level 1, destinations must have less than 10 cases over the past 28 days.
According to CDC, the primary criteria for destinations with a population of 200,000 or less are:

• COVID-19 case counts (cumulative new cases over the past 28 days)
• Continuous review of new case trend data over the past 28 days

According to CHCC’s public information officer Lee Tenorio, CHCC attributes the upgrade in category to the efforts of the residents of the CNMI. As of April 26, 2021, the CNMI has fully vaccinated 17,652 persons which represents 46.3% of the eligible population.

Additionally, CHCC has updated its traveler protocols entering the CNMI last April 27. These are the following:

Group A: Travelers fully vaccinated in the CNMI
• Arrival Procedures:
o Will be transported to the quarantine facility and be tested on arrival
o CHCC staff will verify vaccination status
o Home and lodging will be inspected by CHCC staff and must pass for approval;
all eligible household/lodging members must be fully vaccinated

• Quarantine Procedures:
o If home/lodging inspection passes, monitoring and quarantine are not required
(allowed to move freely around the CNMI)
o Will be tested on 5th day
o Travelers must practice the 3 W’s– wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch
your distance

Group B1: Critical essential workers approved by the CNMI health official
• Arrival Procedures:
o Will be transported to the quarantine facility and be tested on arrival
o CHCC staff will verify vaccination, if Critical Essential worker is vaccinated, if applicable must pass for approval; all eligible household/lodging members must be fully vaccinated

• Quarantine Procedures:
o Home/Lodging Self-Quarantine with limited movement
o Will be tested on 5th day
o 5-day monitoring is required

Group B2: Essential workers approved by the CNMI health official who have proof of vaccination
• Arrival Procedures:
o Will be transported to the Quarantine Facility and be tested on Arrival
o Provide proof of vaccination to be verified by CHCC staff
o Home and lodging will be inspected by CHCC staff and must pass for approval;
all eligible household/lodging members must be fully vaccinated

• Quarantine Procedures:
o Home/Lodging Self-Quarantine with limited movement
o Will be tested on 5th day
o 5-day monitoring is required

Group B3: Essential workers that are approved by the CNMI health official who are not
vaccinated or do not have proof of vaccination

• Arrival Procedures:
o Will be transported to the quarantine facility and be tested on arrival

• Quarantine Procedures:
o 5-day mandatory quarantine at the designated government quarantine facility
o Will be tested on 5th day
o Modified transportation to and from place of work

Group C: Travelers from a Level 1 jurisdiction according to CDC COVID-19 travel
recommendations, who did not layover in a Level 2 or higher jurisdiction and who have proof of their official vaccination record.
• Arrival Procedures:
o Will be transported to the quarantine facility and be tested on arrival
o Proof of vaccination to be verified by CHCC staff
o Home or lodging will be inspected by CHCC staff and must pass for approval; all
eligible household/lodging members must be fully vaccinated

• Quarantine Procedures:
o Home/Lodging Self-Quarantine
o Will be tested on 5th day
o 5-day monitoring is required

Group D: Travelers who do not qualify for Group A, B1, B2, B3, or C
• Arrival Procedures:
o Will be transported to the quarantine facility and be tested on arrival

• Quarantine Procedures:
o Standard quarantine at designated government quarantine facility
o Will be tested on 5th day

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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