BANGOR, Maine — Finding an appointment for a COVID-19 booster or vaccine in the Bangor area has been difficult in recent days, but that changed on Monday.
Northern Light Health held the first in a series of vaccine clinics at its health center on Union St.
Northern Light officials said registration is required for the appointments and community members have been able to make appointments since Friday.
Dr. James Jarvis with Northern Light Health said vaccination and boosters are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, especially during the holiday season.
Jarvis said he's heard from people that local providers just weren’t able to keep up with the increased demand.
"What really we were hearing was people wanting to get their vaccine and they were hearing that appointments were two, three, up to four weeks later," he said. "And then, unfortunately, people who had appointments finding out that certain sites had to cancel on them because they had staffing shortages and weren’t able to keep up with demand. And so we really felt that we needed to step up and offer these 2 new vaccine clinics."
Jarvis said the Northern Light Home Care & Hospice vaccination clinic will temporarily reopen Dec. 14-22 in South Portland at the old Pier 1 building.
Northern Light officials said all brands of COVID-19 vaccine will be offered at the South Portland site, all eligible ages can be vaccinated, and no appointment is necessary.
The clinic will be open 1 p.m.-7 p.m., with extended hours Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
"We’ve internally seen an increase in the number of people requesting vaccinations whether that be for the primary series or their booster shots and I think some of that really has to do with fear," Jarvis said. "That came from last week's record number of positive cases both in and around our communities as well as being admitted to the hospital. And then some fear of the unknown when it comes to the variants like omicron. So I think that spurred some individuals who may have been on the fence to get their primary series of the vaccine and certainly those who have been vaccinated for more than six months to get a booster shot."
Eligible community members may schedule a booster appointment for Bangor or South Portland by using the Northern Light Health vaccine scheduling tool here.