Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 27, 2021 and Island Ad-Vantages, May 27, 2021 and The Weekly Packet, May 27, 2021
High vaccination rates on islands, peninsula
by Leslie Landrigan
At least 70 percent of local town residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except for Castine, according to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Across the state, the CDC estimates 59.45 percent of Maine residents have had at least one shot.
Isle au Haut tops the chart with 98.99 percent of the population vaccinated. Maine Seacoast Mission brought the vaccine to the island by the Sunbeam.
In all but one of the other towns on the peninsula and islands, at least 72 percent of the residents had at least their first shot by May 17, according to the CDC.
Castine Below Average
But according to the CDC, only 49.53 of people in Castine have gotten a COVID-19 shot, nearly 10 percentage points below the state average.
Anne Romans, Witherle Memorial Library director, thinks that number seems low based on her library patrons. They flaunt their vaccination status “like a badge,” Romans said in a phone interview.
“When I heard that Blue Hill was 85.5 and Castine was only 49.5 that seemed really strange,” Romans said.
The CDC told Romans the numbers are based on where people say they live.
Castine’s demographics make it likely to have had high vaccination rates, said Jim Fisher, who formerly taught health administration and now serves as Deer Isle town manager. He was surprised by the relatively low rate in Castine. “The one thing that always confuses statistics from Castine is the presence of Maine Maritime Academy,” Fisher said. “Sometimes the students are counted and sometimes they are not.”
One explanation may be that MMA has its own ZIP code—04420—which does not appear in the CDC’s vaccine dashboard. To view the dashboard, click maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/dashboard/rates-by-zip. The school held a vaccine clinic for students and residents over 50.
Stonington held several pop-up clinics. “Having those local clinics were the key to getting a lot of our local folks done,” said Town Manager Kathleen Billings in an email.
The percentage by town of area residents who have had at least one shot:
Isle au Haut 98.99%
Blue Hill 85.78%
Little Deer 85.54%
Deer Isle 72.96%