Maine faces decrease of 16,000 vaccine doses next week

Fri, 04/30/2021 - 6:15pm

    AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is preparing to place an order for doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for 39,660 people to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed.

    This is a decrease of 16,000 doses from the current week, not counting doses controlled by the federal government sent directly to certain pharmacies and clinics.

    Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of new doses available to Maine for distribution. Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 21,060 doses from Pfizer, 15,400 doses from Moderna, and 3,200 doses from J&J for the 21st week of distribution, starting May 3. Additionally, vaccination sites continue to receive and administer the second dose for individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines through a separate distribution process.

    As planned, Maine has resumed ordering J&J vaccine after federal health authorities on April 23 authorized vaccine providers to reintroduce it following an 11-day pause for a thorough scientific safety review.

    This supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be supplemented by doses the federal government will distribute directly to retail pharmacies and selected Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Maine. The number of doses sent to such facilities is typically determined at the end of the week prior to the following week’s distribution.

    Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 825,595 people in the first 21 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same number of doses coming to Maine next week as this week.

    As of April 28 (week 20), 1,128,389 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 626,667 people who have received first doses and 501,722 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Maine currently leads the nation in the percent of its population that is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg tracker.

    The dashboard on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 56 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 45 percent have received final doses.

    “Maine continues to lead the way in COVID-19 vaccination and we thank all Maine people who have contributed to this monumental effort,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “Starting tomorrow, the Mobile Vaccination Unit be in Fryeburg and we urge local residents to make an appointment or stop by for a vaccination on a first come, first serve basis.”

    “Maine continues to experience strong demand for COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “Offering more vaccination options remains a priority as the Mobile Vaccination Unit and other clinics expand access to no-appointment vaccinations.”

    All Maine residents ages 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for youth ages 16 and 17 and not all vaccination sites in Maine have this type of vaccine. 

    In the 21st week of distribution, the 39,660 doses will be sent to: hospitals (30,490), outpatient providers including the mobile vaccination unit (8,070), corrections (900), and home health (200). Maine continues to work with independent pharmacies to support pop-up clinics sought by community-based groups whose members may otherwise face barriers to vaccination.

    People who need help getting an appointment can call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. It is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Translation services are available through this line. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals may dial 711 and ask to be connected to the number above. The Community Vaccination Line does not provide faster access to appointments.

    Additionally, the Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get there. If you have an appointment and need a ride, call 1-855-608-5172 at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment.