CNMI readies for COVID-19 vaccines

CNMI Official Seal (PNC file photo)

COVID-19 vaccines may soon reach the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands by January 2021.

Officials have been contacted by the White House yesterday morning about the possibility of distributing COVID-19 vaccines all over the Commonwealth, according to Esther Muna, the CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation and COVID-19 Task Force member.

According to Muna, the vaccine distribution program is part of Operation Warp Speed.

The federal program seeks to produce and deliver safe and effective vaccines as part of a broader national strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are part of the national initiative.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is in the development phase right now, she said the government is preparing to make sure that refrigeration facilities and other logistics are taken care of before the vaccines arrive next year.

Muna made the announcement during the CNMI Governor’s media briefing this week.

“We actually had a call this morning in what they call Operation Warp Speed from theWhite House Task Force to get this vaccine and we were assured that it is going to be safe once it is ready for distribution.

The CNMI is looking at January 2021 as the target date for the mass distribution of the vaccine.

According to Muna, the CNMI government is planning to distribute the vaccines not just in Saipan but in Tinian and Rota as well.