MaineHealth, which includes Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital, will open the area’s first COVID-19 vaccination clinics for the general public on January 27.
The Waldo County clinic scheduled to open on January 27, will be located in Building #6 in the former MBNA complex at 21 Schoodic Drive in Belfast.
The Knox County vaccination clinic, scheduled to open January 29, will be located at the Samoset Resort, Samoset Inn Road, Rockport.
Each location will follow Maine CDC guidance for the vaccine rollout, completing vaccination of healthcare workers as well as initiating vaccinations for community members age 70 and above. As the state expands eligibility criteria, hospitals will share this information via www.pbmc.org and www.wcgh.org, in local media and on the PBMC and WCGH Facebook pages.
“We are thrilled with our community’s enthusiasm to get vaccinated – as demonstrated by the volume of calls to our medical practices on this topic,” said Cheryl Liechty, MD, MPH, an attending physician, epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at PBMC, in a news release. “However, please know that there is no need to contact our offices individually – we will reach out to you through the news media, social media, email, letters and telephone.
“No one will be left behind,” Dr. Liechty said. “We are absolutely committed to our role in facilitating our community’s path out of this pandemic.”
To schedule or register for a COVID-19 vaccination at either location, eligible individuals can visit mainehealth.org/vaccine or call 877-780-7545.
These clinics are not able to accommodate walk-ins.
“It is our goal to vaccinate as many people possible quickly, efficiently, and safely. That is best achieved, at least initially, by PBMC and WCGH working together to operate a single, well-staffed site,” said Mark Eggena, MD, PhD, the chief medical officer at PBMC and an infectious disease specialist. V
accine clinics will incorporate all core COVID-19 prevention strategies – including symptom screening, masking, social distancing, and standard hygiene measures – to ensure a safe care environment.
“We want to make getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as easy as possible for everyone in our communities,” Dr. Eggena said.
Both MaineHealth hospitals are approaching the enormous task of vaccinating tens of thousands of people in Knox and Waldo counties by remaining flexible in their approach so they can adapt as the need arises, Dr. Eggena said. This may include opening a second vaccination site in the Rockland area.
Mark Fourre, MD, president of PBMC and WCGH called the opening of the joint PBMC and WCGH clinic a turning point in the local effort to subdue COVID-19.
“Vaccinating as many people as possible is our way out of the pandemic,” Dr. Fourre said. “We know from our experience with the flu, small pox and polio that we need to vaccinate 80 percent or better of the population to establish herd immunity. That is what it is going to take for us as a community and a country to get back to normal. This clinic will help get us there.”
Fourre said PBMC and WCGH were able to get the Belfast clinic up and running quickly because they were able to tap into the resources of the MaineHealth system. “One of the things that we have learned from this pandemic is that we are better positioned to meet the needs of the community because we are part of MaineHealth,” Fourre said.
Dr. Liechty noted that implementing the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is complicated and made more so by the unpredictable availability of vaccines. She asked everyone in our communities for their patience.
“Please bear with us,” Dr. Liechty said. “There are many, many moving parts involved in this unprecedented effort – and these parts are changing on a daily basis due to updates in state and national decision making.”
Dr. Liechty said MaineHealth, PBMC and WCGH is working hard keeping our communities informed about this unprecedented vaccination effort.
“Please be assured that as the vaccine becomes more widely available, allowing us to move through the eligibility list, we will communicate widely about this in real time.”
In the meantime, Dr. Liechty asked everyone to remain vigilant and continue to use the COVID prevention tools that we know work, especially masking and social distancing. “We are hopeful that we have rounded the corner of the pandemic,” she said. “Let’s finish strong.”
About Pen Bay Medical Center
Pen Bay Medical Center is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit pbmc.org.
Waldo County General Hospital
Waldo County General Hospital is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit wcgh.org.