AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Thursday that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed another order for doses of COVID-19 vaccine, enough for 17,575 people, to the U.S. CDC and Operation Warp Speed. The total is 975 doses fewer than last week’s allocation, Maine DHHS says.
Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said, "The supply of COVID-19 vaccines sent to our state is inadequate and unpredictable, but we remain committed to making this life-saving vaccine available to more Maine people as soon as we can."
This order for the seventh week of vaccine distribution represents the latest in a series of vaccine requests that Maine CDC will file in the coming weeks and months, as specified by Operation Warp Speed.
Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of doses available to Maine for new vaccines, Maine DHHS says.
Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 8,775 doses from Pfizer and 8,800 doses from Moderna for the seventh week of distribution.
Additionally, vaccination sites have begun to receive and administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals vaccinated in the first weeks of distribution.
- Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 135,150 people in the first seven weeks of distribution.
- Since COVID-19 vaccination began in Maine on December 15, 92,008 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to health care workers, long-term care residents, and others, including 74,760 people who have received first doses and 17,248 people who have received second doses.
"We hope to finish vaccinating health care personnel and first responders in the coming week as we continue vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities and expanding access to people age 70 and older," Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said.
"Vaccinating Maine people as quickly and equitably as possible remain our guiding principles," Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah said. “As we wait for our federal partners to increase weekly vaccine allotments, the best things that we all can do are to be patient, wear masks in public, stay at least 6 feet apart, wash hands often, and avoid non-essential gatherings.”
Last week, Governor Mills updated Maine’s vaccine strategy. Now included in Phase 1a are emergency service personnel such as police and firefighters and people who support infrastructure critical to Maine’s COVID-19 response. Phase 1b includes older Maine residents, beginning with those 70 and older; followed by people ages 65 to 69. Additional information on others in Phase 1b, Phase 1c, and Phase 2 will be released as more information becomes available on the vaccine supply and pace of vaccination in Maine.
When taken in combination with the vaccinations already given to medical providers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities, these updates accomplish two goals:
- To save lives by focusing on Maine people who are at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19
- To further protect and ensure the continuity of emergency response services and COVID-19 response infrastructure on which Maine people rely
In the sixth week of distribution, shipments of 17,575 doses of vaccine will be sent to hospitals (10,900), outpatient groups (3,575), public safety (200), and organizations helping to vaccine people in long-term care facilities not in the retail pharmacy program (2,900). Maine has paused on sending additional vaccine to the retail pharmacy program operated by the U.S. CDC, as it has sufficient vaccine doses for the coming week.
Community-based health care providers continue to be vaccinated as part of Phase 1a. In coordination with Maine CDC and DHHS, professional associations in Maine, including the Maine Medical Association (MMA) and Maine Osteopathic Association (MOA), are helping connect patient-facing personnel with sites able to vaccinate them. In addition, a number of health systems, community hospitals, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and larger independent physician locations are vaccinating community physicians.
Maine’s emergency medical system also has been vaccinating public-facing law enforcement and fire department staff.
Additional information on vaccination for people age 70 and older in Maine is available at Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine website. Mainers are encouraged to be patient since the federal supply of vaccine falls far short of demand.
Maine CDC is awaiting word from the federal government about whether the 4,400 doses of Moderna vaccine that arrived in Maine compromised may be used.
Maine DHHS says the state is committed to vaccinating at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"This means that some individuals are vaccinated before others and not always precisely in the order of the Phases in the Maine vaccine plan," Maine DHHS said. "That said, the work will not stop until every resident in Maine who wants and needs a vaccine gets one."