SAIPAN — The COVID-19 vaccine shipments for the CNMI are expected to arrive today, and the first vaccinations will be held Saturday, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said Wednesday.

CHCC is expecting the arrival of 7,475 doses and plans to vaccinate 3,700 individuals.

Muna said they will administer two shots of the vaccine, 21 days apart, to each individual.

On Dec. 11, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization or EUA for the Pfizer vaccine.

“The EUA approval means that the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer meets its safety and effectiveness standards,” CHCC stated.

It added that it will follow the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to prioritize people working in health care settings, first-responder agencies and people living with underlying health conditions.

Emergency declaration renewed

Gov. Ralph Torres recently extended the public health emergency for the CNMI.

On Tuesday, he renewed Executive Order 2020-04, which declares a State of Public Health Emergency and a continued Declaration of a State of Significant Emergency to establish response, quarantine and preventive containment measures concerning COVID-19.

The governor also renewed Executive Order 2020-07, which ordered the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office, through the CNMI COVID-19 Task Force and in partnership with CHCC, to undertake necessary COVID-19 containment measures to protect the health and safety of the public.

“COVID-19 continues to pose a significant and imminent threat of harm to the community, environment and people of the CNMI,” the governor said. “Emergency declarations are necessary to respond, quarantine and ensure the prevention of or containment of COVID-19 in the CNMI.”

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As of Dec. 15, the CNMI had 113 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 28.

Of this number, 86 cases were identified through travel screening and 27 were diagnosed through community-based testing and contact tracing.

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