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Maine seeing renewed interest in COVID-19 vaccine as Delta variant causes rise in hospitalizations

Maine's lowest total number of doses administered so far was in July. August is on track to beat that number.

BANGOR, Maine — Maine is seeing a renewed interest in COVID-19 vaccinations as the Delta variant sends more people into the hospitals.

In a tweet, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said the state is administering an average of 2,079 vaccines a day, up from an average of 1,710 per day.

In July, Maine administered 39,393 total doses, which includes first and final doses. So far through August 22, Maine has given 36,334 total doses, with about a week left in the month. On this track, August would outpace July for total doses administered.

"I'm guessing that upward trend is being driven by people's fears over the Delta variant," said Northern Light Health's Dr. James Jarvis during a media call Monday afternoon.

The renewed interest comes as the FDA issued full authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, making it the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

"I'm very hopeful that this will be the thing that convinces a few more people to get vaccinated," Jarvis said. "Everyone more person who gets vaccinated puts the rest of us in a safer position."

"We want to underscore that our efforts to move as quickly as possible have in no way sacrificed scientific standards or the integrity of our process," said FDA Director Janet Woodcock, M.D. "The public can be confident that this vaccine meets the FDA's gold standard."

Maine also now requires all health care workers, including EMS personnel and dentists to get the shot. They must get a final dose no later than September 17. One of the big concerns from many health care workers was the full approval of a vaccine.

As of Monday, Maine ranks fourth in the country for the percent of people age 12 and older who are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. CDC: 

  • VT: 76.3%
  • CT: 74.7%
  • MA: 74.6%
  • ME: 73.8%
  • RI: 72.8%

As for people with at least one dose, Maine ranks eighth at 79.9%.

Some notable points in Maine's COVID-19 vaccine rollout:

  • Oxford Co: 59.92% of 12+ w final dose 
  • Franklin Co: 59.11% 
  • York Co: 69.30% of same 
  • More than 2/3 of Mainers 12+ have a first dose
  • 85% of 60-69 year-olds now have a final dose

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