COVID-19 Vaccination in Maine
FAQs: Phase 1a Vaccination for Maine Health Care Personnel
Maine's vaccination strategy aims to accomplish two goals: 1) to save lives by focusing on Maine people who are at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19; and 2) to further protect and ensure the continuity of emergency response services and COVID-19 response infrastructure on which Maine people rely.
Due to continued limits on vaccine availability, Maine is using a phased approach to providing vaccines.
Given this limited supply, only Maine residents are eligible to receive a vaccine in Maine at this time.
Vaccinations are planned to proceed consecutively through the groups identified in the phases below. Vaccinations may not always occur precisely in this order due to the need to maximize all of the doses Maine receives.
Phase 1a: December through January
- Health Care Personnel Needed to Preserve Critical Health Care Services: This group includes 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. This does not include administrative personnel.
- Residents and Staff Of Long-Term Care Facilities
- Other Patient-Facing Health Care Personnel: This group includes paid 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. This does not include administrative personnel.
- Public Safety Personnel: This group includes public-facing personnel at fire departments, federal, state, and local law enforcement, and officers at correctional facilities. This group does not include administrative personnel.
- Critical COVID-19 Response Personnel:These individuals include people who manufacture, distribute, process, or report COVID-19 tests, whose work, if disrupted, would severely hamper the ability of Maine or the United States to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, this includes people who work in-person directly on COVID-19 response at Maine CDC, which spearheads the State’s COVID-19 response, and 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 whole genome sequencing to detect COVID-19 variants for Maine.
- 1. Who is eligible for vaccination as “health care personnel”?
This includes personnel who work in a health care setting with patients on a regular basis (e.g., each day of work). The U.S CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) defines “Health Care Personnel” as “paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.” Maine is defining “health care settings” as follows:
- Long-term care facilities
- Outpatient clinics/physician practices/dental practices
- Home health care
- Emergency medical services
- Public health settings
- Schools nurses/school health clinics
It does not include others such as administrative personnel, clinical or other medical personnel who are not patient facing (e.g., clinicians who provide care via telehealth), support staff who do not have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials (e.g. food service staff), personal support staff and others who do not work in health care settings, funeral personnel, laundry personnel, or consultants and other individuals contracted by health care organizations who do not have direct contact with patients or exposure to patients or infectious materials.
- 2. Who is eligible as public safety personnel?
This group is limited to public-facing personnel at fire departments, federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as officers at correctional facilities. It includes public-facing personnel at the Transportation Security Agency and Customs and Border Patrol. This group does not include administrative personnel, private security personnel, and ski patrol members or staff who do not have direct contact with the public on a regular basis (i.e., as a daily part of their job).
- 3. Who is eligible as COVID-19 critical infrastructure?
This includes Maine DHHS and CDC personnel whose daily work is critical to COVID-19 testing or epidemiological response; certain members of the Maine Emergency Management Agency; manufacturing personnel at Abbott and IDEXX Laboratories working on COVID-19 test material production; Jackson Laboratories personnel working on COVID-19 whole genome sequencing; and Puritan Medical Products personnel working on swab production.
- 4. How do I know if I qualify to get a vaccine as COVID-19 critical infrastructure, and if so, and where do I go?
Only frontline workers in organizations determined by Maine CDC to be critical to the Maine COVID-19 response are eligible to get vaccinated at this time. Those organizations have been notified by State officials.If eligible, your employer will arrange for how you will get vaccinated.
- 5. Does Phase 1a include workers providing social services, homeless shelters, personal and direct support services, many of whom care for people with COVID-19?
No. Maine recognizes and values these critical frontline services, and with an expanded vaccine supply, we hope to vaccinate these workers as soon as possible.
- Older Mainers: Given the limited number of vaccines, people age 70 and older are being vaccinated first in Phase 1b, after which Maine will move to open vaccination to residents age 65 to 69.
- Adults With High-Risk Medical Conditions: Given the limited number of vaccines, once people age 65 and older are vaccinated in Phase 1b, Maine will then move to vaccinate to individuals whose pre-existing health conditions put them at greater risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19. The U.S. CDC has identified such conditions; which Maine health care experts and clinicians will review. Depending on the size of this group, individuals may be vaccinated in stages, for example, starting with older high-risk people or people with two or more pre-existing conditions.
- Critical Frontline Workers (to be determined): Given the limited number of vaccines, once people in the prior 1b groups are vaccinated, Maine will then move to open vaccination to critical frontline workers. While the U.S. CDC advisory committee has recommended that the following critical workers be considered frontline: food and agricultural workers, Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, those who work in the education sector (teachers, and support staff), and daycare workers, the State of Maine will review this list and make determinations as this phase approaches.
Phase 1c: May and June
- Other Critical Frontline Workers (to be determined): The U.S. CDC advisory committee has recommended that the following critical frontline workers be considered in Phase 1c: transportation and logistics, food service, shelter and housing (construction), finance, information technology and communication, energy, media, legal, public safety (engineers), water and wastewater. The State of Maine will review this list and make determinations as this phase approaches.
Phase 2: June and Beyond
- Persons aged 16-64, who were not already eligible in a prior phase.
Phase 1b: February through April
While vaccination is planned to proceed in this order -- starting with the first group in each phase and then advancing to the next -- some overlap and flexibility is expected. Currently, only Mainers 70 and older are eligible for vaccination in Phase 1b.