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Central Maine Healthcare completes 'soft launch' of COVID-19 vaccine, plans to release more appointments

Central Maine Healthcare gave the COVID-19 vaccine to over 900 people at two of its hospitals over the weekend.
Credit: Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson vaccine

MAINE, USA — Central Maine Healthcare is preparing to release new COVID-19 vaccine appointments at two of its hospitals.

The hospital system did a soft launch on Friday and Saturday, vaccinating more than 900 people staff had reached out to directly by phone. Some people were in Phase 1a and others were Mainers ages 70 and older.

A CMHC spokesperson said staff contacted about 7,000 of its patients by e-mail on Monday, after the soft launch, to alert them to upcoming clinics, including two at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, one at Bridgton Hospital, and one at Rumford Hospital.

"Over four clinics in two days, we vaccinated more than 900 people. The patients were filled with gratitude and though they were masked, we could clearly see their smiling eyes. They energized our team members who have been working so hard to put these clinics together. It was incredibly inspiring to see the very real impact of why we do this work," Chief Medical Officer John Alexander wrote in a statement. "Community members are eager to receive the vaccine and we are eager to provide this service. We are working hard to do so smoothly and efficiently. In addition to planning around vaccine availability, we worked to get the details right for creating a safe and comfortable environment for our patients and team members, scheduling, registration and more."

A spokesperson said the soft launch allowed them to work through the process and improve their efficiency and flow for when they open more appointments.

On Monday, CMHC launched a call center and website to help people schedule appointments for the vaccine.

All vaccine appointments are booked for this coming Saturday, February 6 at CMMC in Lewiston, as well as at Bridgton and Rumford Hospitals.

The hospital system plans to release more appointments for February 13 at its Bridgton and Rumford locations. Appointments for CMMC for February 13 are full. The hospital system is asking people to keep checking the website for availability.

"The availability of appointments and vaccine are extremely limited and we will announce clinics based on the vaccine deliveries we receive from the State," Alexander said in a statement.