BANGOR, Maine — Northern Light Health and the Maine CDC are urging eligible Mainers to fill open appointment slots for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah made the announcement Thursday during a coronavirus briefing. He said that when Northern Light Health staff reviewed their scheduled appointments, they found many openings.
You do not have to be a Northern Light Health patient to get a vaccine at the Cross Insurance Center.
The appointments are only for people eligible under the state's phased approach: currently, that includes Mainers age 70 and older, and those in Phase 1A.
Northern Light said they also have appointments at clinics in Palmyra, Presque Isle, and "a limited number" of appointments in Blue Hill.
Wednesday, Northern Light Health's senior physician executive, Dr. Jim Jarvis, announced that staff are vaccinating hundreds of people per hour, and could do 5,000 shots per day if they had enough doses.
Jarvis announced that staff at the Cross Insurance Center had opened another section of the concourse, allowing them to give more shots.
"There have been several times over the past week where we have approached that 440 patients being vaccinated in an hour, and that's what we would do to reach that 5,000 mark," Jarvis said. "It is quite common for us to be vaccinating over 200 people an hour in the facility right now as things stand, and that puts us at about that 2,000 to 3,000 per day mark. And like I said, we have reached 400 an hour. So we know we can hit that 5,000 mark if we had to."
Maine is getting 3,510 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government in next week's shipment, Shah also announced Thursday.
On Saturday, the state is absorbing another 3,900 doses that had been sitting in a CVS warehouse that had not been assigned yet, Shah added. The state will take those unused CVS doses and re-deploy them to other sites that are able to vaccinate eligible people age 70 and older.
"This is just consistent with our overall approach to maximize the immediate use of every dose that is allocated to Maine," Shah said.
Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said the federal government is doubling the supply it gives to retail pharmacies, such as Walmart and Sam's Club. Those doses are on top of what the Maine CDC gets directly from the feds, but Lambrew said they have not given Maine a specific number yet.