AUGUSTA, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired March 7, 2021.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Tuesday a new, free option for Maine people who need a ride to and from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
Maine DHHS is partnering with ModivCare, one of the organizations that coordinates rides for MaineCare members, to provide rides for any Maine resident who is unable to drive, lacks reliable transportation or is otherwise unable to travel to their appointment.
ModivCare will in turn partner with Community Action Programs and transportation companies to provide rides. This new option is in addition to the transportation support that DHHS already offers for eligible MaineCare members who face challenges getting to their vaccine appointment.
"This new transportation option helps residents who may struggle to get to and from a clinic for a lifesaving vaccine," DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said in a press release. "It is a new tool to promote equity in Maine’s vaccination plan."
"This new help with transportation removes another obstacle facing at-risk Maine people who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19," Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said. “It’s a welcome addition as we continue to work to add vaccination options.”
People must have a vaccination appointment before requesting a ride and must request a ride at least 48 hours in advance of their appointment. These may be shared rides, so DHHS can provide transportation to as many people as possible. Therefore face masks will be required, according to DHHS.
DHHS says it can provide transportation for appointments that are scheduled Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. At least 48 hours before the vaccine appointment, individuals should call 1-855-608-5172 to reserve a ride and should have the following information ready:
- Date and time of appointment
- Name, address, and phone number of the facility where they are receiving the vaccination
MaineCare members who already use a non-emergency transportation broker to arrange rides to their MaineCare-covered services should call that same broker for rides to vaccination clinics. This program is for MaineCare members who are ineligible for non-emergency transportation, as well as any other Maine resident who does not have access to reliable transportation to get to their vaccination appointment.