COVID-19 Vaccination in Maine

Page last updated 01-13-2021. This document will be updated on an ongoing basis. 

Maine CDC continues to work with partners throughout the state to vaccinate as many Maine people on the front lines of the pandemic as quickly as possible. In Phase 1a of the state's vaccination plan, Maine has extended vaccination beyond hospital staff to additional patient-facing health care workers.

The goal, recognizing that Maine’s planning is dependent on the federal government’s vaccine allocation, is to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to all health care personnel who engage with patients and long-term care residents as part of Phase 1a by February. 

If you are a health care worker in Maine, please consult the following FAQs to learn when you may receive your vaccine.

FAQs: Phase 1a Vaccination for Maine Health Care Personnel

1. Who qualifies as “health care personnel” for Phase 1a vaccination?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made recommendations for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines during times of limited supply. Phase 1a includes health care personnel as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

The Maine CDC and DHHS limiting the definition of health care personnel to those that are “paid and unpaid personnel serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. It includes clinical staff members, including nursing or medical assistants and support staff members (e.g. those who work in food, environmental, and administrative services)" who come face-to-face with patients.

It does not include others such as providers who only provide telehealth or administrative, IT, or billing staff who are not patient facing, among others. It also does not include funeral home personnel whose risk of catching COVID-19 is low.

2. Given limited vaccine supply, when do different health care personnel get vaccinated for COVID-19?

Recognizing that Phase 1a comprises a large group of personnel, below is a recommended categorization for vaccination sequencing:

Group 1: Health Care Personnel Needed to Preserve Critical Health Care Services: Paid and unpaid personnel, including both clinicians and support staff, who physically work in hospitals, acute care settings, Emergency Medical Services, or home health on a regular basis and have direct contact with patients, or have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.

This includes outpatient clinicians and their staff who provide care to patients at risk of hospitalization such as providers in urgent care centers, medical practices providing acute care, dialysis centers, and oncology practices.

Group 2: Other Patient-Facing Health Care PersonnelPaid and unpaid personnel, including both clinicians and support staff, who physically work in other health care settings on a regular basis and have direct contact with patients, or have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.

Examples include personnel who work with aerosols, such as in dental fields; health care providers with prolonged contact with patients; practitioners in behavioral health, optometry, school nurses, and environmental services workers at health care practices.

Those administering vaccines to health care personnel should ask the following screening questions to determine whether an individual is part of Group 2. (Answering ‘yes’ to all three questions can help to identify individuals appropriate for Group 2 vaccination.)

  1. Are you a patient-facing health care personnel?
  2. Do you work in-person in a health care facility (as opposed to remotely)?
  3. Do you have direct contact with patients or with infectious material?

Group 3: Public Safety: This includes public-facing personnel at fire departments, federal, state, and local law enforcement, corrections facilities, and dispatch. This group does not include administrative personnel.

Group 4: Critical COVID-19 Response Personnel: This includes personnel in Maine whose work on COVID-19 test processing, reporting, supply, and distribution are critical to responding to the pandemic. This is limited to people who must work in person directly on COVID-19 response at Maine CDC and at private companies, such as IDEXX, which supports Maine’s COVID-19 testing capabilities; Abbott Laboratories, which manufactures COVID-19 tests for use in Maine and across the nation; Puritan Medical Products, which manufacturers swabs for COVID-19 tests; and Jackson Laboratories, which is conducting COVID-19 whole genome sequencing for Maine.

Group 5: Non-Patient Facing Health Care Personnel: At this time, Maine is not vaccinating non-patient facing health care personnel. Paid and unpaid personnel, such as health care administrators, who do not have direct contact with patients or the potential for direct or indirect exposure to infectious materials, but work in health care settings on a regular basis will qualify for vaccination under a later phase.

Maine's goal is to complete Phase 1a by the end of January to promote public health by protecting Maine's health care workforce against COVID-19. Vaccinating at this velocity means that some individuals within Phase 1a are vaccinated before others even if those individuals face less exposure to COVID-19.

3. How do I know if I qualify to get a vaccine, and if so, and where do I go?

Health care personnel can use the following tips to find out when and where they can get a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Health care settings may apply to the Maine CDC to be approved to administer vaccine to their own providers and staff. The Maine CDC has prioritized distribution to approved settings with a large number of employees since the vaccine comes in 100-dose “lots.”  Health care providers apply to be a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider through the Maine Immunization Program. Not all approved sites will receive vaccine in the short term given limited supply.

  • Providers and staff at medical practices that do not have direct access to COVID-19 vaccines should first check with their employer to see if their employer has arranged vaccination for them. Of note, most hospitals in the state are approved COVID-19 Vaccine Providers, so hospital-owned and affiliated practices may be able to access vaccines through their local hospital or health system.

  • Providers and staff at other medical practices should check with their primary care provider; their primary care provider may be able to provide vaccinations if their practice is a COVID-19 Vaccine provider.

  • Additional information will be released in January on how providers and staff at medical practices that do not otherwise have access may receive a COVID-19 vaccine.