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Originally published in Castine Patriot, April 1, 2021 and Island Ad-Vantages, April 1, 2021 and The Weekly Packet, April 1, 2021
More COVID-19 vaccine, more clinics
Federal government ships many more doses to Maine

by Leslie Landrigan

Maine is ramping up COVID-19 vaccinations this week as the federal government increased its regular shipment of vaccine by nearly 47 percent, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a virtual news conference on March 30.

In addition, more Mainers have more ways to get vaccinated. Just a week after people 50 and older became eligible, Shaw’s pharmacies joined the Hannaford, Walgreens and Walmart chains in giving vaccines.

Northern Light was also set to begin vaccinating up to 750 people a day on April 1 at its new clinic in the former Family Dollar store in Ellsworth. Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital will continue to administer vaccines, but Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth will not, according to a news release.

Shah implored Maine residents 50 and older to make an appointment soon.

“We all want to get back to being Vacationland, but first we have to become Vaccinationland,” he said.

Progress

Shah said the state is making “steady and sustained progress” in vaccinating the population. Nearly one in three Mainers has had a first shot, and nearly one in five has had a final shot, he said.

Though three of the more contagious and dangerous COVID-19 variants have been detected in Maine, they are not the predominant strain of the virus as they are in Florida, Shah said.

He also said the U.S. CDC has documented the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They are 90 percent effective at reducing the likelihood of getting COVID-19, and they also reduce the chances of spreading the virus to others.

To find out where and how to get vaccinated, or to preregister for a vaccine, go to maine.gov/covid19/vaccines.