AUGUSTA, Maine — The Biden administration is boosting purchases of coronavirus vaccines to deliver enough to protect 300 million Americans by the end of the summer, as it surges deliveries to states for the next three weeks following complaints of shortages and inconsistent supplies.
President Joe Biden announced the surge in deliveries to states Tuesday afternoon, along with the news that the federal government is purchasing an additional 100 million doses each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. With existing purchases, the White House expects to be able to deliver enough of the two-dose regimens to states to vaccinate 300 million people.
Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s commitment Tuesday afternoon:
“Maine is distributing vaccines as quickly and as efficiently as possible but, to date, we have received a limited and inconsistent supply of vaccines from the Federal government which has constrained our ability to vaccinate people. Like many of my fellow governors, I was encouraged to hear the Biden Administration pledge that states will receive a greater allotment of vaccine doses in the coming weeks, allowing us to get more shots into the arms of Maine people. We will distribute this increased allotment expediently in line with our vaccination strategy, focusing right now on those over 70 who are more likely to suffer and die if they contract COVID.”
Last week, Maine received 17,575 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Federal government, 975 fewer doses than the week before. An increase of 16 percent would result in approximately 20,375 first doses per week each week (weeks of February 1, 8, and 15) to the State of Maine.
At Tuesday's Maine CDC media conference, Dr. Nirav Shah was asked about his thoughts on the new administration and its focus on COVID-19.
"There is a clarity of thought, there is an openness, there is a desire to work with states at almost every level, whether it's testing, contact tracing, school policy, and of course...vaccines and vaccination."
Shah said one of the biggest changes in administrations is that Biden's discusses ideas with states before making any changes.
"That in of itself has been a notable change just in the first week of the administration, and no doubt I speak for my colleagues across the other 49 states, it is a very welcome change."