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Vaccination deadline for Maine health care workers extended to Oct. 29

Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that the state would not enforce its COVID-19 vaccine requirement until the end of October
Credit: Vincent - stock.adobe.com

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that her administration would not begin enforcing its vaccine mandate until Oct. 29, a month later than originally announced.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew announced the change during a public health briefing with Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah.

The announcement comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, as the Maine CDC reported the most COVID-19 cases in seven months.

On Wednesday, Mills announced $146 million in state and federal funding to help Maine nursing facilities, residential care facilities, adult family care homes and hospitals address workforce shortages.

Mills, who did not take part in Thursday's briefing, said in a release, "My goal is that every health care worker in Maine is vaccinated. Anyone who is placed in the care of a health care worker has the right to expect – as do their families – that they will receive high-quality, safe care from fully vaccinated staff. Allowing this additional time and providing $146 million in funding to recruit and retain vaccinated workers will help protect the lives of medical staff and patients, protect our health care capacity, and reduce the spread of the virus.”

This story will be updated