SANFORD, Maine — Health officials in the state are hoping to vaccinate even more Mainers by offering expanded hours at COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
On Thursday in Sanford, folks were able to come to the vaccination site on Main Street at the former Marshall's location to receive their shots between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.
"If we want to make vaccinations work for working people, we've got to meet them where they are, and provide hours that work for them," said Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah, who was on hand in Sanford for the first night of evening vaccinations.
Shah hopes that offering later hours will help get even more Mainers vaccinated.
"Evening vaccine clinics with no appointment needed are one of the first steps and one of the easiest things that we in the public health community can do to meet people where they are," said Shah.
The clinic in Sanford will now begin offering walk-in appointments every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of May.
"We can now accommodate the work-a-day person, so yeah I think this will help us to achieve our goal," said York County chief fire administrator Roger Hooper, who has helped coordinate the Sanford vaccine clinic.
"We've got to kind of readjust to reach out to the more difficult part of population," added Hooper. "And make things more convenient for people to come in here and get this vaccination."
Both Shah and Hooper hope offering extended vaccination hours makes it easier for Maine's struggling to find time to make it to an appointment to become vaccinated.
"It doesn't have to be every night, it doesn't have to be until midnight, it doesn't have to be at 6:00 a.m., but for so many working people just the opportunity to show up right after work, that's going to be the difference for them," Shah said.
Shah said he anticipates more sites offering evening hours, or weekend hours to open across the state soon.