As of March 21, 2021 COVID-19 vaccination is available to everyone 16 years old (Saipan) and 18 years old (Tinian & Rota) living in the CNMI who chooses to receive it. Vaccine operations began in December 2020, with a phased approach to prioritize population groups that are at increased risk for getting COVID-19 and severe COVID-19 illness.
Each group became eligible for the vaccine one at a time based on completion of the previous phase and will continue to be eligible throughout the vaccine distribution. Our timelines plans are continually being updated and adapted as more information becomes available.
CHCC has received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines are proven effective however, some of them are easier to handle (stored in most standard medical freezers) and ship (in smaller quantities).
These characteristics allow us to broaden our CNMI COVID-19 Vaccination effort. Specifically, at this time the CNMI Health Official has determined the priority use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for the following target populations:
1) Homebound/bedbound population
2) Residents of Tinian
3) Residents of Rota
Additionally, the initial limited supply of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for persons 65 years and older living on Saipan.
Once we have successfully vaccinated these populations, we will reassess our vaccination strategy to expand use of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to other populations and to assess coordination with private providers in the CNMI to become pre-approved vaccination locations.
We encourage everyone interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine to talk to their doctor or healthcare provider before vaccination.
For more information please visit:
Pfizer’s vaccine has been authorized for ages 16 and up. Moderna and Janssen vaccines are currently authorized for ages 18 and up. Clinical trials have begun for younger kids.
Administering a safe and effective vaccine is our top priority. We will rely on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before we consider administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the CNMI. All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.
Two of the three vaccines authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 are require two doses. For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 21 days between the first and second dose. And for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days between the first and second dose.
The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine only requires one dose.
The CHCC’s vaccination effort is informed by the available data and continues to support use of the required dosage of each vaccine at specified intervals.
There may be side effects, but they should go away within a couple of days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity.
If you are worried about side effects or if you don’t feel better after 48 hours seek medical attention. Side effects include but not limited to:
*Severe headache followed by confusion and blurred vision
*Nausea and vomiting
*Shortness of breath or seizures
*Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms
Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. The good news is, at least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.
There may be side effects, but they should go away within a couple of days. This does not mean you have COVID-19.
Is there anyone who should not be vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes! The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last.
Yes. Pregnant women may choose to be vaccinated. Since pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, they should weigh the risk of COVID-19 (i.e.healthcare workers) with the risks of vaccination. We encourage everyone, especially pregnant women, to discuss vaccination with their doctor or healthcare provider.
COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnant women. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were tested in ~37,000 people, and there were no serious side effects. However, these vaccines were not tested in pregnant women. Some women did become pregnant during the study. No adverse events in the vaccinated pregnant women have been reported.
The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends: “COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP recommended priority groups.”
Guidance from The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology https://www.acog.org/en/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/12/vaccinating-Pregnant-and-Lactating-Patients-Against-COVID-19
The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine strongly recommends that pregnant individuals have access to COVID-19 vaccines. They recommend that each person have discussion with their healthcare professional about their own personal choice.
Pregnant women who experience a fever following vaccination should be counseled to take acetaminophen, as fever has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Yes. People with common allergies can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine will not be given to individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) to a previous dose or any component of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is still important to let your healthcare provider know about any latex allergies so they can ensure they do not use any latex containing products (ex. gloves) when administering the vaccine.
As COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and then recommended for use in the United States, it will be important to understand what is known about each vaccine.
Currently, two vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:
If you receive a vaccine product that requires two doses, the second dose must be the same brand/manufacturer as the first dose.
The COVID-19 vaccine is being provided to us through the U.S. Government. The vaccines will be available at no cost to everyone living in the CNMI who chooses to receive it. The CHCC will attempt to bill insurance companies to cover the cost of vaccine administration. This is why insurance information is part of our registration process.
You will need a Valid Government Issued ID (driver’s license or passport) and your insurance information (not required). People who register online will be promoted to upload a copy of their Valid Government Issued ID. If you are unable to upload an ID, call the Vaccinate CNMI Call Center for further assistance.
Bring a valid government issued ID (driver’s license or passport; international passports will be accepted) and your COVID-19 Vaccination ID.
Please call the Vaccinate CNMI Call Center if you are unable to go to your dose 1 appointment. Rescheduling of dose 1 appointments are based upon available dates and spots.
We are doing our best to provide vaccination for everyone in the CNMI. Expect to be at your appointment for at least 45 minutes.
Yes. The CHCC and CDC recommend that during the pandemic people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine. While we are still in a pandemic, continue practicing the 3W’s: Wear a Mask, Watch your Distance, and Wash your hands!
Alcohol suppresses the immune system, so it would be advisable not to drink alcoholic beverages 24 hours after getting vaccinated. Moderate consumption of alcohol is always recommended, if people do choose to drink.
Some countries require proof of vaccination for certain diseases like yellow fever. It’s important to plan ahead to get the shots required for all countries you and your family plan to visit. At this time, it is unknown if getting the COVID-19 vaccine will be a requirement for travel. However, if you are planning to get your COVID-19 vaccine, please ensure that you are able to go to your dose 1 and dose 2 appointments (either 21 days for Pfizer or 28 days for Moderna) for maximum protection. We are not rescheduling patients who are unable to make their second appointment at this time. Getting the COVID-19 vaccines does not guarantee that you will be exempt from quarantine or other travel requirements.
For more information about shots required for all countries visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/
People traveling are not being prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Traveling should not be a motivator for receiving the vaccine.
While the vaccines appear to be highly effective at preventing disease, it might not prevent asymptomatic infection, meaning vaccine recipients might still be able to get infected, but not have symptoms and, therefore, unknowingly spread the virus. Vaccine manufacturers will be doing additional studies to better understand whether this is the case.
Every COVID-19 vaccine dose counts. Please ensure that you are able to go to your dose 1 and dose 2 appointments (either 21 days apart for Pfizer or 28 days apart forModerna). Once you get dose 1 of the vaccine series you will automatically be scheduled for dose 2. We are not rescheduling patients who are unable to make their dose 2 appointment at this time.
Yes. We encourage people taking medication or antibiotics to talk to their doctor or healthcare provider before getting the vaccines.
There may be side effects, but they should go away within a couple of days. This does not mean you have COVID-19.
If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms such as chest pain, severe headache followed by confusion and blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, severe anxiety, shortness of breath or seizures please call 911 immediately.
For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:
For the people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and were vaccinated two or more months ago.
Yes, COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their initial series.
Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others, may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you have lost your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card or don’t have a copy, contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record. Additional information about your COVID-19 vaccine record can be found here.
COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone at no cost, including the booster shot. Vaccines will continue to be given to all people living in the United States, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
Individuals can self-report that they are eligible and receive a booster shot wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving their booster shot.
No. At this time, people are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.
For those eligible, getting a booster shot is convenient. Interested individuals can visit www.vaccinatecnmi.com or contact (670) 682-SHOT(7468) for the latest information about COVID-19 vaccinations, vaccination site locations, and hours of operation.
Yes, if a patient is eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit, as recommended by CDC and ACIP. In addition to flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine can be given with other vaccines as well.