ALFRED, Maine — On Wednesday, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in York County began receiving initial doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The York County Incident Management Team (IMT) has been planning for the arrival of the vaccine and has put in place a structure aimed at ensuring rapid delivery of the vaccine to all York County EMTs, a group included on Phase 1A of vaccine delivery as recommended by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Maine Emergency Medical Services selected the Old Orchard Beach, Sanford, and Kennebunk Fire Departments to store and distribute the vaccine under the organization of the York County IMT, who coordinated strike teams to administer the vaccine, beginning Wednesday morning.
“Our goal is to get 80 vaccinations completed today to protect our first responders in those communities with the most active outbreaks of COVID-19,” York County IMT Operations Section Chief and Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief Fred Lamontagne said.
On Tuesday, Old Orchard Beach Fire Department received 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Service Chiefs in York County will soon be contacted by the York County IMT to confirm times during which EMTs will be vaccinated.
Members of the public are asked to avoid calling their local fire department with inquiries regarding vaccine availability. The vaccine is not yet available to members of the public. EMS providers and other frontline healthcare workers have been identified by the CDC as a high priority group.
"Right now I don't advise and in fact ask everyone not to call your local public safety, not to call your local fire rescue or EMS agency," Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said during a state coronavirus briefing last week. "Those phone lines we're really hoping can stay open for first response and emergency purposes. Vaccine will be made available to the general public, but it may be many many months away."
Health care workers at Rumford Hospital received their first doses Tuesday.
Central Maine Healthcare (CMHC) got its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine Monday, just days after the FDA authorized it for emergency use nationwide.
According to CMHC officials, more than 550 health care workers across all three of its hospitals in Lewiston, Bridgton, and Rumford have received the vaccination so far.