AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has placed another order for doses of COVID-19 vaccine, for 17,575 people, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Operation Warp Speed.
This order for the seventh week of vaccine distribution represents the latest in a series of vaccine requests that Maine CDC will file in the coming weeks and months, as specified by Operation Warp Speed, as part of Maine's accessible, flexible, and equitable distribution plan for the vaccine.
Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of doses available to Maine for new vaccines.
Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 8,775 doses from Pfizer and 8,800 doses from Moderna for the seventh week of distribution. The total is 975 doses fewer than last week's allocation.
Additionally, vaccination sites have begun to receive and administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals vaccinated in the first weeks of distribution.
Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 135,150 people in the first seven weeks of distribution.
Since COVID-19 vaccination began in Maine on December 15, 92,008 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to health care workers, long-term care residents, and others, including 74,760 people who have received first doses and 17,248 people who have received second doses.
"We hope to finish vaccinating health care personnel and first responders in the coming week as we continue vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities and expanding access to people age 70 and older," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "The supply of COVID-19 vaccines sent to our state is inadequate and unpredictable, but we remain committed to making this life-saving vaccine available to more Maine people as soon as we can."
"Vaccinating Maine people as quickly and equitably as possible remain our guiding principles," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "As we wait for our federal partners to increase weekly vaccine allotments, the best things that we all can do are to be patient, wear masks in public, stay at least 6 feet apart, wash hands often, and avoid non-essential gatherings."
Last week, Governor Mills updated Maines vaccine strategy. Now included in Phase 1a are emergency service personnel such as police and firefighters and people who support infrastructure critical to Maines COVID-19 response. Phase 1b includes older Maine residents, beginning with those 70 and older; followed by people ages 65 to 69. Additional information on others in Phase 1b, Phase 1c, and Phase 2 will be released as more information becomes available on the vaccine supply and pace of vaccination in Maine.
When taken in combination with the vaccinations already given to medical providers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities, these updates accomplish two goals: 1) to save lives by focusing on Maine people who are at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19; and 2) to further protect and ensure the continuity of emergency response services and COVID-19 response infrastructure on which Maine people rely.
In the sixth week of distribution, shipments of 17,575 doses of vaccine will be sent to hospitals (10,900), outpatient groups (3,575), public safety (200), and organizations helping to vaccine people in long-term care facilities not in the retail pharmacy program (2,900). Maine has paused on sending additional vaccine to the retail pharmacy program operated by the U.S. CDC, as it has sufficient vaccine doses for the coming week.
Community-based health care providers continue to be vaccinated as part of Phase 1a. In coordination with Maine CDC and DHHS, professional associations in Maine, including the Maine Medical Association (MMA) and Maine Osteopathic Association (MOA), are helping connect patient-facing personnel with sites able to vaccinate them. In addition, a number of health systems, community hospitals, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and larger independent physician locations are vaccinating community physicians.
Maines emergency medical system also has been vaccinating public-facing law enforcement and fire department staff.
Additional information on vaccination for people age 70 and older in Maine is available at Maines COVID-19 vaccine website. Mainers are encouraged to be patience since the federal supply of vaccine falls far short of demand.
Maine CDC is awaiting word from the federal government about whether the 4,400 doses of Moderna vaccine that arrived in Maine compromised may be used.
The State is committed to vaccinating at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This means that some individuals are vaccinated before others and not always precisely in the order of the Phases in the Maine vaccine plan. That said, the work will not stop until every resident in Maine who wants and needs a vaccine gets one.
Maine's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in spring 2020. The vaccine distribution framework will continue to evolve with the changing vaccine supply and continued input from health care providers and various communities throughout Maine.