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Maine to get increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, including 8,100 Johnson & Johnson shots

Maine will get 45,200 first doses for the week of March 29, up from 35,190 the state received this week.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine will get a significant boost of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of March 29 of 45,200 doses, up from 35,190 the state received this week.

The additional doses come as the state opened vaccine eligibility to Maine people age 50 and older on Tuesday, March 23.

Federal data from the U.S. CDC shows that Maine will get 23,400 doses of Pfizer vaccine, 13,700 of Moderna, and 8,100 of Johnson & Johnson, which is a sizable increase from this week's 1,600 doses.

These totals do not include the yet-to-be-determined number of vaccine doses that retail pharmacies in Maine such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Walgreens, and Hannaford, which are participating in the federal retail pharmacy program.

School staff are the only people able to get appointments at the retail pharmacy locations until March 31, under a directive from President Joe Biden.

If the retail pharmacy program continues to receive 12,000 doses or more next week, as it has in recent weeks, Maine would receive about 60,000 doses for next week in total.

Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long said this increase could be short-lived.

"Our federal partners have given no indication that the projected increases in Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week will be anything more than a one-week bump," Long told NEWS CENTER Maine Wednesday.

"The addition of more Johnson & Johnson doses will support ongoing efforts to vaccinate homebound individuals, long-term care residents and staff who were not vaccinated as part of the retail pharmacy program, and others for whom a single-dose vaccine would be most beneficial."

"We still need more vaccine in the state," said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah during a media briefing on Thursday, March 25. "Although the volume of vaccine we've been receiving has increased steadily over the past several weeks, in my conversations with health care providers, large-scale vaccination  site operators, as well as others involved with vaccination across the state, there has been one consistent theme: they can be doing more."

Shah said his federal partners have indicated that Johnson & Johnson supply may increase in coming weeks.

"I'll believe it when I see it," Dr. Shah said.

As of March 23, more than 28 percent of Maine people had received a first dose of the vaccine. Almost 17 percent of Mainers have received a final dose.

Last week, Maine DHHS announced that residents who don’t have access to the internet or otherwise struggle to get an appointment can call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111

The hotline available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Translation services are available through this line. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals may dial 711 and ask to be connected to the number above. The Vaccination Line does not provide faster access to appointments.