Additional COVID-19 FAQs

Information is current as of 2/21/2021 and is subject to change

How do individuals who do not have the internet schedule to get a COVID vaccine?

The State of Maine is currently working on a call center for registration. More information will be released as soon as it is available.

When will individuals 65 to 69 be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

If current progress continues, people age 65 to 69 will become eligible for vaccination in early March. Maine has about 92,000 people in this age group. As with previous phases, there will be overlap between groups to ensure every dose the state receives is used to protect the health of Maine people. Updated 2/21/2021

Is the increase in vaccination rates related to lower COVID-19 cases?

This is hard to determine and could be a result of increased mask wearing, less congregating after the holidays, however, we do not have a definitive reason why at this time. Updated 2/21/2021

I am 70+ years old and would like to register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Retail Pharmacy Program with Walmart. Where do I sign up?

Based on information provided by the federal retail pharmacy program, 22 Walmart Pharmacies and 2 Sam’s Clubs are currently receiving vaccine doses that are being used to vaccinate Maine residents 70 and older at no cost. Walmart has created a registration system which is available here: https://www.walmart.com/cp/1228302 Updated 2/21/2021

I work in public safety or COVID-19 response. How will I know where to get vaccinated?

Your employer will arrange for how you will get vaccinated.

I am a home care worker, am I eligible to receive the COVID vaccine in Phase 1a?

Home care workers are Critical Front-Line Workers, likely to be included in 1b, but not until later in 1b. Updated 2/2/2021

Do suppliers to the critical COVID-19 infrastructure companies also qualify in Phase 1a?

Your employer will arrange for how you will get vaccinated. 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.

Here is a link to the most recent update: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/public-faq Updated 2/2/2021

Why do fully vaccinated people have to quarantine 14 days after their 2nd COVID vaccination if they travel into Maine?

The rules requiring quarantine or a recent negative test for travelers from states other than New Hampshire and Vermont were established by an executive order from Gov. Mills and remain in place. They reflect an abundance of caution based on the discovery of COVID-19 variants in other states, the small percentage of potential travelers who have had both doses of the vaccine, the length of time required for the vaccine to become fully effective after the second dose, and other public health considerations. As more people become fully vaccinated and as scientists learn more about the variants and the effectiveness of vaccination against them, travel rules could be reviewed. Updated 2/2/2021

What if I can’t get my 2nd dose at the same place that I received my first?

Ideally if you have received your first dose at a facility in Maine, you should be getting your second dose at

the same facility, since the second dose will have already been allocated there. However, if you’re unable to, (i.e. received first dose out of state and then moved to Maine), then you would need to reach out to the closest health care system. Updated 2/2/2021

Is it possible to advocate for earlier prioritization to get vaccinated?

States like Maine may choose to adopt, amend, or use their own prioritization for COVID-19 vaccination. We receive recommendations from the U.S. CDC, but ultimately in the state of Maine, the determination is made by the Governor. You may contact the Governor’s office to voice your concern: https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/contact Updated 2/2/2021

How many doses is the state receiving of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Details about Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine orders are available here.

How will private practices have access to the vaccine?

In coordination with Maine CDC and DHHS, professional associations in Maine, including the Maine Medical Association (MMA) and Maine Osteopathic Association (MOA), have engaged independent member practices to assess the number and location of patient-facing clinicians and staff to vaccinate. In addition, a number of health systems, community hospitals, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and larger independent physician locations have begun to reach out to community physicians. With this needs assessment, the MMA and MOA can help connect patient-facing personnel with sites able to vaccinate them. This process should provide access to COVID-19 vaccines for ambulatory physicians, nurses, and their patient-facing staff over the coming weeks, recognizing that this will depend on the supply of vaccine Maine receives from the federal government as well as the rate of immunizations at vaccination sites.

What is the distribution process?

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution process leverages existing networks, processes and partnerships to make vaccines available across America as quickly and safely as possible. Each week, as doses are released by companies for distribution, planes and trucks transport the vaccine to states and jurisdictions across the country.

The federal government, through Operation Warp Speed, has been working since the pandemic started to develop, manufacture, and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Right now, most of the vaccine is delivered directly to entities that are vaccinating people in phase 1. A small amount of the vaccine has come to Maine CDC, and we have distributed it to vaccination sites that have not been able to receive doses directly.

Vaccine Distribution Process: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ows-vaccine-distribution-process.pdf

What is Maine’s process for distribution?

Maine is generally following the recommendation of the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

If vaccine supply increases, Maine may adapt our plan to include groups beyond those recommended to be vaccinated first. In general, groups most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 of groups most likely to experience extreme adverse symptoms are recommended to receive the vaccine first.

How is it determined what states get what allocation?

The federal government ultimately makes the decision as to how many doses are allocated to each state as they work closely with each jurisdiction.

See the allocations for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine by jurisdiction

See the allocations for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine by jurisdiction

How is the vaccine prioritized?

Maine has prioritized its limited supply of vaccine for health care personnel and residents of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities under Phase 1a. In addition, Maine residents age 70 and older are now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 as part of Phase 1b. While the federal government controls the states vaccine supply, 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, as well as Maine’s most vulnerable populations. Updated 2/21/2021

How will we know who is getting vaccinated each week?

Updates are made to Maine’s COVID-19 website: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/updates

How will people learn when it is their turn for vaccination?

People will learn about access to vaccines through the Maine CDC, employers, and their medical providers.

If I’m in the current priority group and it is my turn to be vaccinated, how do I get access to the vaccine?

Individuals should first check with their employer or medical provider to ensure that a plan hasn’t

already been made for them to receive the vaccine.

Updates to Maine’s vaccination process can also be found on: www.maine.gov/covid/vaccines

Who is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a?

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.

ACIP defines health care personnel (HCP) as “paid and unpaid personnel serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials…. HCP comprise clinical staff members, including nursing or medical assistants and support staff members (e.g. those

who work in food, environmental, and administrative services.”

Recognizing that Phase 1a health care personnel in Maine comprise a large group, 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 Personnel: 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.

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: 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 alongside personnel who have direct contact with patients or exposure to infectious materials.

Questions to determine inclusion in Group 3 will be developed soon.

Maine's goal is to complete Phase 1a by February 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.

What resources are available if you are a Long-Term Care Facility looking to vaccinate your residents?

There is a Pharmacy Partnership Program available. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to Madeleine Squibb at madeleine.squibb@maine.gov

How do providers sign up to distribute the vaccine and what is that process?

Any facility, organization, or healthcare provider licensed to possess vaccine, administer vaccine, or provide vaccination services in the State of Maine is eligible to enroll.

Only providers enrolled through this online enrollment and approved by the Maine Immunization

Program can receive and administer COVID-19 vaccine in Maine. To enroll, organizations must complete: CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement (PDF)

Additional information on the process and what is required can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/immunization/covid-19-providers/enrollment.shtml

Are there informational calls available for providers and how do they sign up?

All providers are encouraged to join the MeCDC Vaccination Working Group call

This call occurs every Thursday from1-2 pm and discusses strategies and operations in preparing Maine for COVID-19 vaccination.

Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/95037941905?pwd=emlpR0x5RnQ2YTkvMHE5YlRoNVQzUT09
Meeting ID: 950 3794 1905
Passcode: vaccine

PowerPoint slides to past meetings are located here: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious- disease/immunization/covid-19- providers/communications.shtml

COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Clinicians Webinars

Tuesdays at 7:30 –8:00 AM & Fridays at 12:00 –12:30PM

Dr. Stephen Sears, Dr. Amy Belisle and Dr. Lisa Letourneau host these meetings.

The sessions offer information on the vaccine development and approval process, followed by time for questions and discussion.

Zoom/web: https://zoom.us/j/6218434986
Meeting ID: 621 843 4986
Passcode: 338847

Slides and recordings to these webinars are located here:

https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/immunization/covid-19-providers/vaccine- info.shtml

What if I am a Provider and I have a patient with specific illnesses/allergies and wanting to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

For more information on COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/allergic-reaction.html

Providers may also join the “COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Clinicians Webinars”

We are a congregate living facility (ie. Bordering, residential homes, and assisted living facilities) who do not have a partnership in which we can sign up for vaccine?

Please contact the Maine Immunization Program – ImmunizeME.DHHS@maine.gov or 207-287-3746, so we can be put you in a partnership.

Who do I contact if I have questions on the storage and handling of vaccines (including temperature excursions), questions on routine vaccinations, and ImmPact related questions?

How can I find out updates on Maine’s vaccination process?

The Maine COVID webpage will be updated as new public information becomes available.

Where is MIP’s COVID-19 webpage located and what is available?

Our COVID-10 webpage is located here: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/immunization/covid-19-providers/index.shtml

This webpage includes information on how to enroll in the program, storage and handling resources, EUA Fact Sheets/Standing Orders, Vaccine Safety, Communications (anything sent out from the Maine Immunization Program regarding COVID-19 and the slides from each weekly Vaccine Planning Work Group Meeting), link to the U.S. CDC’s COVID page, COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Clinicians (including slides and information from ME DHHS Clinician Information Sessions with Dr. Stephen Sears, Dr. Amy Belisle, and Dr. Lisa Letournea)

What is the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines currently available?

Pfizer –94.1% Moderna–95%

What other vaccines are in development?

As of December 28, 2020, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for three COVID-19 vaccines in the United States:

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

Why should people who have already been infected with COVID-19, get the vaccine?

It’s not clear how long protection lasts from being infected with the virus, so vaccination is still recommended.

People who had COVID-19 can get the vaccine at any time after they’ve recovered from being ill with COVID-19.

Who should get vaccinated and who should not?

Who should get vaccinated?

  • The Moderna vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 years and older.

Who should NOT get vaccinated?

  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19vaccine
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
  • An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).
  • This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

How do I report it if I have a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.

You can report side effects and reactions using either V-safe or the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. And V-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is the national system that collects reports from healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public of adverse events that happen after vaccination; reports of adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns are followed up with specific studies. Reports to VAERS help CDC monitor the safety of vaccines. If experts detect an unexpected adverse event, they quickly study it further to assess whether it is a true safety concern. Experts then decide whether changes are needed in U.S. vaccine recommendations. This monitoring is critical to help ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks for people who receive vaccines.

Healthcare providers will be required to report certain adverse events following vaccination to VAERS. Healthcare providers also have to adhere to any revised safety reporting requirements according to FDA’s conditions of authorized use throughout the duration of any Emergency Use Authorization; these requirements would be posted on FDA’s website.

You can expect normal side effects after you are vaccinated. Refer to What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 for additional information. Updated 2/21/2021

If someone does not have a smartphone or internet, how do they report an adverse reaction?

They should contact the facility where they received their vaccination to report the reaction.

Resources

Maine Immunization Program

Maine Immunization Program COVID-19 Provider’s Portal

Maine’s COVID-19 Vaccine Website

U.S. CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Website