OLD TOWN, Maine — It takes a group effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and that teamwork was on full display Saturday behind the Old Town Public Safety building.
The Penobscot County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Peace Corps, volunteers, and local agencies all worked together at the latest stop of the state-run mobile vaccination unit.
“Really we’re looking to get as many people vaccinated as possible," James Segerson, Emergency Management Specialist with FEMA said. “Right now we’re looking to get to those folks who maybe are on the fence about getting the vaccine, or maybe just haven’t had the time or the opportunity.”
The mobile clinic opened Saturday morning and will continue to administer the single dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for the next few days. Segerson said the site will open at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday morning and will wrap up around 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. in the evening each day.
He added the whole process only takes about 20-25 minutes. Folks looking to get the vaccine just pull up to check in with a volunteer, fill out paperwork, get the shot, wait for the observation time to end, and you're good to go.
“There’s an enormous amount of effort going in with our volunteers, so we’re grateful for those literally coming in from around the nation," Bradley Nuding, Director of the Penobscot County EMA said.
Volunteers from the Peace Corps just landed in Maine according to Ellena Pole. Originally from New Jersey, Pole mentioned she was working at other clinics around the country before coming to Vacationland.
“[We're] looking forward to getting the vaccine to as many people as possible who need it so we can help get back to the new normal," she said.
The timing of the clinic aligns with major news regarding Maine's mask mandates. As of Monday, mask mandates will be lifted in most settings.
Nuding said the incentive of getting the vaccine due to the relaxed restrictions could encourage more Mainers to get their shots so we can return back to normalcy.
The clinic has 1,000 doses with the ability to get more if needed, so there is no risk of running out of supply.