Step-by-step look at COVID-19 vaccination process

Posted on Jan 14 2021

The COVID-19 vaccination process isn’t as easy as it looks. To illustrate that point, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. gave the media a look at the process of how someone is inoculated with the vaccine.

Whether you’re getting your first or second dose, people who are supposed to be vaccinated go first into the first tent at the back of the Commonwealth Health Center on Navy Hill to have their temperatures checked, and are then validated if they are getting their second or first dose. After that, patients will walk to the verification tent before they are sent to the vaccination tent.

After getting verified for the dose you will be getting, CHCC personnel will escort you to the next tent where the actual vaccination takes place. You will be met by more CHCC personnel who will take your temperature again and then escort you to your seat where you will be seated 6 feet apart from other patients while they are getting their vaccines.

At this point, CHCC pharmacists will draw the vaccine from vials into syringes for injection. Once a needle is inserted into the vaccine vial, CHCC personnel will have two hours to use the vaccine until it expires, said CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña.

Next, when the patient is already inoculated, they are then escorted to another tent where they will be observed for 15-30 minutes by CHCC nurses to see if they have any allergic reaction. According to Muña, patients will get the full 30 minutes if they have underlying health conditions or have known allergies.

One CHCC personnel who asked not to be named said they have not seen anyone who has had an allergic reaction right after getting vaccinated.

Once their 15 to 30 minutes are up, patients will receive a card that indicates that they’re done with their vaccination or when their next dose will be. Once they are done getting their vaccination card, they will then either wait 21 days for their next dose, or if they have already received their second dose, then they are officially done.

Patients who have trouble registering can seek help from the COVID-19 call center. That’s in one of the Medical Care and Treatment Site’s tent. COVID-19 call center supervisor Julie Inos said she and her staff are there from 5:45am until 10:30pm.

So far, the call center has not come across people posing as a front-liners to get vaccinated, Inos said.

Muña emphasized that there’s a lot of cooperation throughout the process. “I just want to emphasize that if you really look around…there’s a lot of agencies involved here…from the Call Center, to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, you have the Department of Public Safety involved here, CHCC staff…and we do this every day. Sometimes it’s 24/7 monitoring of the freezer, making sure that everything is intact, and meeting the requirements of the vaccines and storage,” said Muña.

She also said that CHCC staff are working night and day to ensure not only a smooth process, but that the vaccines aren’t wasted.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
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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