‘We are removing vaccination barriers’

Posted on May 06 2021

With the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. extending its vaccination efforts to villages, this is being looked at as one way to “remove any barriers” to achieving the goal of having at least 85% of the CNMI’s population vaccinated against COVID-19 before the CNMI reopens its borders to tourists, according to CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña.

By setting that goal, Muña said this will be one way for the CNMI to achieve herd immunity, which means vaccinating a high enough number of a population in order to provide indirect protection to the unvaccinated.

In line with this, CHCC announced yesterday that they changed the location for the vaccinations in Tanapag this Saturday from the Tanapag Youth Center to the San Roque Parish, from 8am to 12pm. To register online, visit vaccinatecnmi.com or call (670) 682 – SHOT (7468).

In an interview with Muña, she said they have reached out to private clinics as well to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. So far, only the Medical Associates of the Pacific in Puerto Rico is on board.

“We are removing a lot of what may [be] considered barriers to getting vaccinations, whether it’s transportation, more information about the vaccines, or just about the safety of the vaccines,” said Muña. She said that they wanted to, as much as possible, have vaccination registrations available where it’s easy to reach.

Muña said they want the registration to be as easy as when someone is going to the store and shopping for groceries that they could register for the vaccine when they’re headed out.

“As we are getting closer to herd immunity…we’re working with different clinics to see how they can provide the vaccines, rather than just CHCC alone. We’re looking at pharmacies, we’re looking at clinics, [and] where people are gathered in any occasion and event,” said Muña.

As for private clinics that administer the vaccine, Muña says there won’t be any fee for patients who get their vaccines there, and it’s meant to be free, no matter where it’s given.

Muña reassures that they are doing everything within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for vaccination outreaches.

CHCC’s permanent vaccination sites are the Medical Care and Treatment Site at CHCC’s upper parking lot and the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.

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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