Kilili gets COVID-19 vaccine shot

Posted on Dec 29 2020

At the request of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) received an injection of COVID-19 vaccine last Saturday.

CHCC officials asked Sablan to take the shot to show the public he has trust in the medicine’s safety and effectiveness. “With the eventual goal to have everyone in the Marianas vaccinated, it is important to build widespread confidence in the new vaccine,” said a statement issued by Sablan’s office.

The Marianas received an initial allocation of 4,875 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Thursday. This first shipment is comparable to what Vermont, Wyoming, and other smaller population states are receiving.

CHCC has been working for months to be ready. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines must be stored at ultra-low temperatures and two shots are required, 21 days apart. So CHCC has to closely schedule both the initial shot and the follow-up.

“CHCC has done impressive work to protect the people of the Marianas during this health crisis,” Sablan said, “and to be prepared to receive and administer the vaccine.”

CHCC plans to give priority to health care workers, first responders, and high-risk patients. But, during a Dec. 9 briefing on vaccine preparedness and the COVID-19 response in the Marianas, CHCC officials asked Sablan to volunteer to be vaccinated to demonstrate the vaccine’s safety. “I agreed to take this new medicine, as long as everyone in the first-priority group is taken care of,” the delegate said.

In this photo posted in his Facebook account last Dec. 26, 2020, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) is injected with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Commonwealth Health Center’s MCAT.

Following recommendations from two independent advisory panels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the distribution and use of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 11. A second vaccine from manufacturer Moderna has already obtained emergency use authorization, which will make even more doses available for distribution.

Even after vaccinations begin, it will still be necessary to continue to practice the “3 Ws”: Wear a mask; Wash your hands; Watch your distance by standing at least 6 feet apart from the next person, especially when indoors. This is because individuals who have taken the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, while having 95% certainty they will not get the disease, could still transmit the coronavirus to others.

“We have to continue all the safety practices we have learned over the last year,” Sablan said. “And everyone will need to be vaccinated, if we want to return our lives and economy to normal in 2021.” (PR)

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