OXFORD, Maine — Maine has launched its first mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Starting at 11 a.m. on Monday at the Oxford Casino, people began to trickle in for vaccination appointments.
Gov. Janet Mills and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Administrator Paul Ford were there to unveil the state's new weapon against the coronavirus.
"What a great day," Mills exclaimed before introducing her colleagues. "They are some of the many people to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude and appreciation today for helping to set up this important milestone in the greatest logistical challenge Maine and the nation has undertaken in generations."
The mobile vaccination unit (MVU) is slated to provide the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine to as many as 250 people a day. It came together under a partnership between the state and FEMA. It the second clinic of its kind in New England, behind Connecticut.
The clinic will remain in Oxford through Friday, April 16, then the MVU will travel to Windham, Biddeford, Fryeburg, Turner, Waterville, Old Town, Milbridge, Calais, Madawaska, and Auburn over the next two months, according to Mills.
People who have not scheduled appointments can call the Community Vaccination Telephone at 888-445-4111. Those appointments are only available from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Thursday when the unit leaves the Windham location. These shots will be Moderna.
The 11 communities were chosen based on a CDC "social vulnerability index," which Mills says it's comprised of more than a dozen criteria—from rural landscape to income level.
This mobile clinic is the only one FEMA has plans to create in Maine as of now. However, it is possible the clinic's tour around the state may continue beyond what's currently planned.
Ford said, "The state of Maine can also—after the first 60 days—if this unit is really effective, they can request to have it for another 60 days."
In a prior release on the clinic, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said, “The mobile clinic adds another important option in our efforts to vaccinate Maine people quickly and equitably. This partnership allows us to shorten the distance between Maine people and shots that can save their lives.”
The MVU program will be funded primarily by the federal government with "ancillary" state support, according to Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. The vaccines will be supplied by the state.
To schedule an appointment, call the state's Community Vaccination Line at 888-445-4111.
The Mobile Vaccination Unit Schedule:
- April 12-16, Oxford Casino, 777 Casino Way, Oxford
- April 18-22, Windham Mall,795 Roosevelt Trail, Windham
- April 24-28, Biddeford High School, 10-20 Maplewood Avenue, Biddeford
- April 30-May 3, Fryeburg Fairgrounds, 1154 Main St., Fryeburg
- May 5-7, Boofy Quimby Memorial Center, 96 Howes Corner Road, Turner
- May 9-12, Marden's Surplus and Salvage, 458 Memorial Drive, Waterville
- May 14-17, Old Town Police and Fire, 150 Brunswick St., Old Town
- May 19-22, Milbridge Marina, Bay View Road, Millbridge
- May 24-27, Thomas Dicenzo Athletic Complex, Calais Avenue, Calais
- May 29-June 2, Madawaska Multi Purpose Center, 160 7th Ave., Madawaska
- June 9-12, Downtown Auburn Transportation Center, GreatFalls Plaza, Auburn