AUGUSTA, Maine — In yet another update, Gov. Janet Mills accelerated the state's COVID-19 vaccination timeline on Thursday, making Mainers age 16 and older eligible beginning April 7. Previously, that date was April 19.
Currently, Mainers age 50 and older, as well as educators, school staff, and child care workers are eligible.
The Mills administration said in a press release the acceleration comes as the state is expected to receive "a significant increase" in vaccine supply from the federal government.
Next week for the 17th week of distribution, Maine is set to receive enough first doses and single-doses, in the case of the J&J vaccine, for 54,790 people from the U.S. CDC and Operation Warp Speed, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said in a release Thursday—up 9,590 doses from this week's allocation.
“Maine continues to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. With the Federal government significantly increasing our supply of vaccines, it is appropriate to accelerate our timeframe and make all Maine people eligible beginning next Wednesday,” Mills said in a release. “While this is a great step forward, Maine people should keep in mind that even though they are eligible it will still take time to get an appointment and get a vaccine. We will continue to work with vaccine providers across Maine to get shots into arms as quickly as we can.”
Mills discussed the announcement Thursday during the Maine CDC coronavirus briefing, joined by Director Dr. Nirav Shah and Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew.
Watch the briefing here:
Data as of Thursday morning shows 32.41 percent of Maine's population has received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 20.61 percent completing their vaccination series (which includes the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
“With nearly three out of every five Maine residents age 50 and older having now received at least one dose of vaccine, we’re prepared to open up appointments to even more Maine people,” Lambrew said in a release. “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll continue to work with our valued partners throughout the state to connect eligible Maine people with doses, particularly those who are at high risk or face barriers to vaccination, which will help move Maine closer to recovery.”
The administration says it will take some time for vaccine clinics to begin scheduling vaccine appointments.
"Some vaccine sites may now begin accepting appointments for newly eligible residents, while others are preparing to offer appointments in the coming days," the administration said.
The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals ages 16 and 17, but consent from a parent or legal guardian is required to vaccinate children. For more information on vaccinations for 16 and 17-year-old Maine residents, click here.
To find a vaccination site, visit the state vaccine website.