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 45,200 people, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed.
This is an increase of 10,010 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 23,400 doses from Pfizer, 13,700 doses from Moderna, and 8,100 doses from Johnson and Johnson for the 16th week of distribution, starting March 29.
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, 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 weeks distribution.
Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 495,515 people in the first 16 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same number of doses next week as this week.
As of March 24 (week 15), 623,388 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 387,648 people who have received first doses and 235,740 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
The dashboard on Maines COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 28.8 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 17.5 percent have received final doses. For just first doses, this includes 69 percent of Maine residents age 60 and older and 21 percent of residents age 50 to 59.
"The increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses comes as Maine enters its first full week of vaccinating people ages 50 to 59," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "We continue to encourage residents who may have trouble signing up online or getting to a clinic to call the Maine Vaccination Line 1-888-445-4111 for help."
"The increased allocation for next week will help us maintain momentum in our efforts to vaccinate more Maine people," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "Receiving more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will add flexibility to those efforts."
Currently, Maine residents age 50 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Additionally, Maine residents who are educators, school staff, and child care workers can get vaccinated.
In the 16th week of distribution, the 45,200 doses will be sent to hospitals (38,330), outpatient groups (4,570), the Maine CDC Public Health Nursing program (500), public safety (1,500), and home health and hospice (300).
In addition to direct federal allocation, Federally Qualified Health Centers will receive 1,700 doses to help vaccinate eligible people in underserved communities. Maines efforts to vaccinate older residents include the Public Health Nursing Program, which is working with long-term care facilities to vaccinate new residents and staff, and coordinating with home health agencies and others to vaccinate residents who are homebound.
Starting next week, the Department will send letters to 51,590 people age 50 and older who get health care services through MaineCare about their eligibility to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It will also provide information on how to get an appointment and access transportation services if needed. The Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get there.
As of this week, residents who are not yet eligible for a vaccine can pre-register at VaccinateME.Maine.gov. 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 Maines COVID-19 vaccine website for a full list of sites open to residents.
Additionally, people who don't have access to the internet or otherwise struggle to get 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.