Moderna vaccines prioritized for Tinian and Rota
The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. assures that the CNMI’s Moderna vaccines are not affected by the recent recall of Moderna vaccines in Japan.
Heather S. Pangelinan, Maternal, Infant, Child, & Adolescent Health Programs administrator for CHCC, said the Moderna recall in Japan is a factory-related issue.
“The Moderna vaccines in the U.S., including the CNMI, are not affected by the recall. The recall in Japan was related to an issue from the factory that produces the vaccines for Japan and other countries outside the U.S. or its territories,” said Pangelinan.
Japan recalled three batches of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines after an investigation found stainless steel contaminants in some vials.
Pangelinan also said that the CNMI’s allocation of the Moderna vaccines are right now being prioritized for Tinian and Rota since these vaccines do not require ultra-cold storage like Pfizer’s vaccines, making them significantly easier to transport from Saipan to the two islands.
She said CHCC and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force made the decision to prioritize Moderna’s vaccines on Tinian and Rota. “Ensuring the vaccines were safely transported was a priority,” she added.
Pangelinan gave this explanation when asked why there seems to be more people being inoculated with the Pfizer vaccines on Saipan compared to the other vaccines.
She also explained that Pfizer’s vaccines were the first to be rolled out in the CNMI and were the first to be granted emergency approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Moderna’s vaccines received FDA emergency approval one week after Pfizer’s vaccines obtained emergency approval, but there were limited doses at the time of its initial rollout in the CNMI.