Maine places 17th order of COVID-19 vaccines amid acceleration of vaccination timeline

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 2:15pm

    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 first doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, for 54,790 people, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) and Operation Warp Speed.

    This is an increase of 9,590 doses, 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 19,890 doses from Pfizer, 14,300 doses from Moderna, and 20,600 doses from Johnson and Johnson for the 17th week of distribution, starting April 5. 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.

    This supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be supplemented by doses the federal government will distribute directly to Walmart/Sam’s Club pharmacies, Walgreens pharmacies, Hannaford pharmacies, Shaw’s 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 590,395 people in the first 17 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same number of doses next week as this week.

    As of March 31 (week 16), 712,798 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 435,700 people who have received first doses and 277,098 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

    The dashboard on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 32.4 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 20.6 percent have received final doses. For just first doses, this includes 72 percent of Maine residents age 60 and older and 37 percent of residents age 50 to 59.

    "Maine has administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to over one-third of residents ages 50 to 59, and we expect to reach two-thirds of this age group within the next week, " said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "Our work to reach out to Maine residents who may be hesitant or struggling to get a COVID-19 vaccine continues.”

    "A report released this week by the U.S. CDC affirms that the vaccines are safe and effective," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “Getting shots into more Maine people’s arms moves us all closer to protecting our state from COVID-19.”

    In the 17th week of distribution, the 54,790 doses will be sent to hospitals (38,550), outpatient groups (8,240), independent pharmacies (3,700), public safety (4,000), and home health and hospice (300).

    In addition to direct federal allocation, Federally Qualified Health Centers will receive 2,100 doses to help vaccinate eligible people in underserved communities. Maine is working with independent pharmacies and emergency medical services to support pop-up clinics sought by community-based groups whose members may otherwise face barriers to vaccination. It is working with home health agencies to vaccinate homebound older Mainers and starting to provide vaccine doses to independent primary care practices.

    The Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get to a vaccination site. Additionally, people who don’t have access to the internet or otherwise 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 Vaccination Line does not provide faster access to appointments.

    Residents who are not yet eligible for a vaccine can pre-register at Residents who are currently eligible may also pre-register. When a vaccination appointment becomes available to you, you will receive a personal access code that allows you to look for available openings across a number of sites and schedule an appointment. Not all clinics use this system so people should continue to visit Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine website for a full list of sites open to residents.