Immunization ‘catch up’ clinic for children coming to Rockland

Fri, 07/24/2020 - 4:30pm

AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) will offer a series of free "catch up" immunization clinics starting next week to help parents ensure that their children are up-to-date on required vaccinations, per a news release. 

Because the COVID-19 pandemic led many Maine families to forgo well-child visits or other in-person consultations with their pediatricians since March, some children have fallen behind on required and recommended immunizations.

The "catch up" clinics are part of a collaboration between public health professionals and primary care providers in Maine to ensure that children are up-to-date on vaccines that prevent serious contagious diseases.

The clinics are a joint effort of the Maine Immunization Program and the Maine Public Health Nursing Program, supported by public health district liaisons and local primary care providers.

“COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in many ways, including presenting new challenges in getting to wellness and preventive care visits,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “It's always best for children to see their trusted pediatricians. But if that's not possible, these clinics will help protect them from preventable childhood diseases.”

Starting Monday, July 27, regularly scheduled once or twice weekly clinics will be offered at Public Health Nursing offices in Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Lewiston, and Portland.

Clinics are by appointment only to ensure proper physical distancing. Parents can call 287-6730 or 287-4112 to schedule an appointment.

Additional clinics are planned for Calais, Machias, Rockland, and Skowhegan. More information about when parents can schedule appointments at these clinics will be announced as soon as it becomes available. Clinics could be added to meet demand.

All vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule will be available at no cost for children 18 and younger.

Families are encouraged to first reach out to their primary care provider to arrange for immunizations. If families don't have a primary care provider or if their provider is not able to meet their needs for immunizations, parents should get a copy of each child's immunization record to bring to the clinic.

At the clinics, public health nurses will administer shots, provide an updated immunization record to the family, and notify primary care providers of the vaccines given to each child. Public health nurses also will assist families who don't have a primary care provider to find a way to receive continued care.