SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Editor's Note: The video above aired Friday, Feb. 26 when the new age-based vaccination plan was announced.
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened at the Maine Mall on Monday.
The clinic, which is operated by Northern Light Homecare & Hospice, had been doing vaccination clinics but realized it could administer many more doses if they had a larger space. The Maine Mall offered up, free of charge, the vacant Pier 1 store for a mass vaccination site.
Northern Light Health jumped on it, giving out about 150 vaccinations Monday. Once it is fully geared up, Northern Light said it will be able to put the vaccine into 500 to 1,000 arms a day, provided of course, that there is enough vaccine.
Northern Light has partnered with the Area Agency on Aging to help get seniors registered. Organizers are still figuring out the hours of operation for this particular site but that will be forthcoming. Northern Light also operates the mass vaccination sites at the Portland Expo and the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
VP of Continuing Care for Northern Light Health Colleen Hilton said since the hospital system regularly runs mobile flu clinics, they are fortunate to have enough volunteers to staff this new site.
“To date we have vaccinated close to 8,000 people with most clinics taking place at our office in South Portland. This partnership expands our ability to vaccinate as many as 800 people a day which is greatly needed as the availability of vaccine increases,” Northern Light Homecare & Hospice President Colleen Hilton said in a statement. “Not only is it vital to the community, but Brookfield Properties is committed to the effort as well as they are donating the use of the space. In addition, our friends at One Stop Rentals in Portland have donated the chairs and tables for the duration of the vaccine clinics.”
Those eligible for the vaccine, which will expand to those age 60 and older starting Wednesday under Maine’s new age-based vaccination plan, will be able to be vaccinated at the clinic. To register, visit northernlight.org or call 207-204-8551.
Northern Light Homecare & Hospice is also offering remote clinics. So far, clinics have been opened in Calais, Waterville, Brewer, Peaks Island, Cornish, Limington, Waterboro, and Kittery to help vaccinate those with limited access or who cannot travel.
This week, clinics are planned for Monhegan Island, Biddeford, Bridgton, and Stonington.
“In addition, work with senior housing locations and immigrant communities across the state is a priority and will continue to be a part of our comprehensive vaccination strategy,” Northern Light said in a release.