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Some patients complain of long lines at Northern Light EMMC COVID-19 vaccine clinic

The vaccination clinic at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center opened Saturday. Those who went said the wait outside in the cold may be a problem.

BANGOR, Maine — Some patients who went to the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor on Saturday complained of waiting in the cold for more than an hour.

Saturday was the first day the EMMC's vaccination clinic was open. About 1,000 Mainers attended the clinic.

Al Williams, 73, of Glenburn, was there. He said dozens of people over the age of 70 had to wait outside to get their vaccinations. Williams added he had to wait in line for more than an hour to get inside the clinic, despite showing up about 20 minutes prior to his scheduled appointment.

"It is important for folks to also remember to arrive for their appointment at the scheduled time and not too much before," Bob Potts, a spokesperson for the hospital told NEWS CENTER Maine in an email.

Potts added that this is what happened on Saturday, people came a little too early therefore there were lines.

"Once we got inside it was very efficient, easy peasy. But getting up to that point was terrible. So that age group of people, this time of year, I'd be surprised if some of them didn't come down sick," Williams said.

EMMC addressed some of those complaints in a statement.

"As with any new process, lessons were learned that will help make future clinics run even more smoothly. We continue to make adjustments through these unchartered waters, and we appreciate everyone's patience," the statement said.

"We learned a lot from this past weekend and are already working on adding additional detail for patients on what they should plan to do and expect," Potts added.

Organization proves to be key for vaccine clinics popping up across the state.

Brian Blethen from Lincoln Health and his crew opened its first vaccine clinic for the community in Boothbay on Monday. He and his team have taken steps to ensure it's a smooth process and people are able to stay safe.

"We've got parking lot attendant making sure people are showing up on time," he said.

He added that these vaccine clinics are by appointment only and they do not want people showing up to them without an appointment. This will make it easier for social distancing.

Blethen said this vaccination clinic is expected to give two hundred doses a day just this week.