PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s largest health system will soon offer walk-in COVID-19 appointments at select locations. MaineHealth made the announcement Friday in a release, also announcing a new on-demand scheduling option, which is now live.
MaineHealth’s chief medical officer, Joan Boomsma, said “It is vital to keep our momentum going,” and these new options will help keep that momentum up of vaccinating Maine communities against COVID-19 as cases among younger people are on the rise.
“When you see a 30-year-old battling for their life on a ventilator, it’s a reminder of how serious a disease COVID-19 really is,” Boomsma said. She added that, in addition to getting vaccinated as soon as possible, people should continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene. “This is not the time to be letting up,” she said.
MaineHealth has 10 vaccine clinics, including locations in Belfast, Boothbay Harbor, Brunswick, Farmington, Norway, Rockland, Sanford, Scarborough, Westbrook, and North Conway, N.H. MaineHealth Care at Home is also administering vaccinations to its home health care patients across its service area.
So far, MaineHealth says they’ve administered more than 280,000 doses of the vaccine.
The new on-demand scheduling option, which launched Friday, allows Mainers the option of scheduling an appointment immediately after they’ve registered within the MaineHealth system. Until now, people who wanted to get an appointment had to register and would later be contacted to make an appointment. Mainers can also call 1-877-780-7545 to register and will be notified when an appointment is available.
John Porter, a spokesman for MaineHealth, said the Franklin Memorial Hospital clinic in Farmington began offering walk-in appointments on a limited basis earlier this week, and it went well enough that they are setting up a regular schedule for walk-ins. Walk-in appointments at Franklin Memorial will be offered Monday through Friday, the week of April 26-30, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to anyone aged 18 and older.
Porter said the walk-in option is “under discussion” across the MaineHealth system, but so far only Franklin Memorial has confirmed that it will offer it and has set a date for doing so.”
“Our goal is to make getting the vaccine as easy as possible,” Boomsma said. “It takes less than five minutes to schedule a vaccination appointment using the online self-service scheduling option. If Maine people step up and get vaccinated in coming weeks, we can finally start to put this pandemic behind us.”
Currently, Maine residents age 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine, however, those aged 16 and 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine with permission from a parent or guardian. Three MaineHealth clinic locations—Scarborough, Westbrook, and Brunswick—have appointments available for 16 and 17-year-olds. MaineHealth says other locations may offer specific times for 16 and 17-year-olds when more Pfizer vaccine is available in the coming days.