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The clinic is preparing to start vaccination in Maine over the age of 50

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Augusta firefighter / paramedic Tim Pomerow will administer a shot to Janice Banel at the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Connie Middle School and High School in Augusta on Saturday. Joe Ferrand / Kennebeck Journal Buy this photo

The vaccination site had booked to begin delivering shots to residents of Maine, ages 50-59, on Tuesday as the state entered the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

As of Monday morning, 27.2% of Maine residents had been vaccinated at least once, and 16.3% had completed a complete vaccination program. Meanwhile, hospitals and medical networks were preparing to open the door to vaccination clinics for individuals in their 50s.

Expansion in Maine will take place the day after the vaccine manufacturer. AstraZeneca announces US clinical trial results It could be the first step towards federal approval of the drug. Dr. Nirab Shah, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine, said federal scientists need to scrutinize the results, but if approved, AstraZeneca will add weapons against COVID-19. ..

“If the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved here in the United States, I think it will be a very useful and necessary part of the weapons here,” Shah said on the main public “Main Calling” radio program.

Approximately 165,000 Maine residents will be eligible for new vaccinations when the minimum age on Tuesday drops to 50. About 32,000 people in that age group have already been vaccinated in previous qualification categories, such as medical and public security workers.

Maine Health, the state’s largest healthcare provider, has already scheduled nearly 11,000 bookings from individuals of that age group already on Maine Health’s waiting list between Tuesday and April 2. It was. Authorities said they hoped to expand the clinic’s offerings if the vaccine supply allowed.

“Currently, the entire MaineHealth system can provide 30,000 vaccinations per week, so the limiting factor remains vaccination allocation,” MaineHealth said in a statement. MaineHealth is a clinic run by Scarborough Downs’ mass vaccination clinic, a former Sanford retailer, and a regional hospital in the network, and was scheduled to receive approximately 11,000 first doses (and individual shipments of second doses) this week. ..

Northern Light Health, which operates mass vaccination clinics in Bangor and Portland, and regional hospitals, did not begin accepting reservations for Maine, aged 50-59, until 2:00 pm Monday. This week it will be administered throughout the network, but most of those spots were filled by Monday afternoon.

Unlike MaineHealth, Northern Light does not maintain a waiting list, it only reserves vaccinations for eligible individuals when the spot becomes available. As a result, interested individuals will need to book online or by calling 207-204-8551.

“Northern Light Health has lowered the age requirement for its website to over 50 in line with its scheduled release at 2 pm today,” spokesman Andrew Soucier said in a statement. “We have taken this approach to prevent individuals between the ages of 50 and 59 from signing up for vaccination before the date set by the state on March 23.”

Governor Janet Mills and state health officials also announced on Friday that the combination of reservations available within the current system and the expected increase in vaccine supply in the coming weeks has enabled expansion. Mills also announced that all residents over the age of 16 will qualify on April 19.

As of Monday, 66% of approximately 400,000 residents over the age of 60 in Maine had been vaccinated at least once. That number varies dramatically from region to region, but 77% of Cumberland County residents are over 60 and have taken at least one shot, but 49% of Somerset County residents of the same age group. It’s just that.

Asked Monday if the main CDC could raise its April 19 timeline, Shah said it all depended on federal vaccination and state vaccination capacity. Maine expects shipments to increase slightly this week, but Shah said there are signs of a significant increase in deliveries next week or in the first week of April.

“Generally what we’ve seen is to snap up after the slot opens,” says Shah. “We expect demand to be strong in the first few weeks as we expand into groups of 50+ (nearly 200,000). We saw that tail-off and empty slots again. If so, evaluate it when you are thinking about the next group. “

Eligibility expansion also occurs when the number of new cases continues to grow in Maine.

The main CDC reported 178 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday with no additional deaths. The 7-day moving average for new cases in Maine was 207 the following Monday. Rise above 200 last week For the first time in over a month. The 178 new cases reported on Monday show a decline from the number at the end of last week, but case reports often fall over weekends due to low test volumes.

The daily number of cases in Maine has been around 200 marks consistently for several weeks after dropping to about 140 in mid-February. The current number is still well below the record high of more than 600 daily cases in mid-January, but Shah said on Monday that the number was “more than we wanted.” I did.

Shah said seasonal fluctuations and people “coming out of winter shells” could be factors. The presence of a new variant of COVID-19 in Maine could also boost the number of cases, he said.

However, Shah pointed out that Maine had not experienced COVID-related deaths in nursing homes and other meetinghouses for more than a month.

“The number of deaths has dropped considerably,” Shah said in the program. “For strategies to vaccinate older Maine, we can sometimes go for a few days … before a single death is reported to us.”

In Maine, at least 729 deaths are associated with COVID-19. To date, the Main CDC has tracked a total of 48,642 confirmed or estimated cases of COVID-19 since the coronavirus was first detected in the state about a year ago.

Seventy-two people were infected with COVID-19 in a hospital in Maine on Monday, 23 of whom were infected with critical care beds and 12 of whom were ventilated.


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