Maine CDC Press Release

March 24, 2021

Maine CDC Announces Possible Exposure to Hepatitis A at Orono Store

AUGUSTA- The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified a case of acute hepatitis A virus infection in an Orono food service worker.

The person handled food in the Circle K at 2 Stillwater Avenue in Orono while infectious on the following dates: March 6-9, March 13-16, and March 20-21, 2021. An assessment of the employee's illness determined that some store patrons may be at risk for hepatitis A infection. Maine CDC recommends that anyone who may have eaten food prepared at or who worked at the Circle K at 2 Stillwater Avenue in Orono from March 13 through 16 or March 20 through 21 receive hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of their potential exposure. There is a 14-day window during which receiving hepatitis A vaccine is effective after exposure.

Anyone who ate food prepared at or who worked at the establishment from March 6 through 9, 2021, is outside the window for which prophylaxis is recommended. Maine CDC recommends that these individuals watch for symptoms and seek medical attention should they develop symptoms.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than 6 years old do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.

Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. Symptoms begin to show 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person can spread the virus to others approximately two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.

Health care providers are encouraged to remain vigilant for hepatitis A infection in persons who exhibit symptoms.

For more information on hepatitis A visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

March 24, 2021

Maine DHHS Urges People to Take Advantage of New Health Care Savings and Extra Time to Sign Up for Coverage

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released the following statement today in response to Tuesday's announcement by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the special enrollment period forHealthCare.gov plans will be extended until August 15, 2021.

The Biden Administration previously announced that people without access to affordable coverage could sign up for coverage between February 15 and May 15, 2021 in response to the loss of jobs and health insurance due to COVID-19. Yesterday, this special enrollment period was extended to give consumers more time to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan. Consumers now have another three months to enroll or review their coverage, with increased tax credits available to lower their monthly premiums starting April 1.

“Being able to visit your doctor, to fill a prescription, and to receive the health care you need to stay healthy is even more important amid this pandemic,” said Governor Mills. “Affordable health insurance is available for Maine people, and I encourage anyone who needs it to visit CoverME.gov to explore their options and to sign up for a plan by August 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.”

“We urge Maine people to take this additional time to enroll in high-quality, affordable health care coverage,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “Even if you already have a health plan, you’re likely to qualify for better coverage at a lower cost to you and your family if you take action. Visit CoverME.gov as soon as possible to explore your options.”

Starting April 1 under the American Rescue Plan, consumers have access to additional savings through HealthCare.gov. These savings will lower premiums by, on average, $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On average, one in four individuals who enroll through HeathCare.gov can upgrade their plan for coverage that offers lower out-of-pocket costs at the same or a lower monthly premium.

More than 3 million uninsured people are estimated to be newly eligible for these health care coverage savings. In Maine, this includes 16,300 uninsured residents who are newly eligible for tax credits and 2,200 uninsured residents newly eligible for silver plans that carry a $0 monthly premium.

Additionally, beginning in early July, consumers eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may get additional savings when enrolling in new Marketplace coverage through HealthCare.gov or updating their existing Marketplace application.

If you’re not sure what coverage you qualify for, visit CoverME.gov or call Consumers for Affordable Health Care at 1-800-965-7476 to learn more about affordable options through both MaineCare and HealthCare.gov. Maine people are eligible for insurance through MaineCare if their annual income is less than $17,236 for a single person or $29,435 for a family of three. Eligible Maine people may enroll in MaineCare at any time of year.

March 25, 2021

Maine To Place Order for 16th Week of COVID-19 Vaccines

AUGUSTA- The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is preparing to place an order (PDF) for first doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, for 45,200 people, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed. This is an increase of 10,010 doses, not counting doses controlled by the Federal government sent directly to certain pharmacies and clinics.

Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of new doses available to Maine for distribution. Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 23,400 doses from Pfizer, 13,700 doses from Moderna, and 8,100 doses from Johnson and Johnson for the 16th week of distribution, starting March 29. Additionally, vaccination sites continue to receive and administer the second dose for individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines through a separate distribution process.

This supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be supplemented by doses the Federal government will distribute directly to Walmart / Sam's Club pharmacies, Walgreens pharmacies, Hannaford pharmacies, and selected Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Maine. The number of doses sent to such facilities is typically determined at the end of the week prior to the following weeks distribution.

  • Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 495,515 people in the first 16 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same number of doses next week as this week.
  • As of March 24 (week 15), 623,388 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 387,648 people who have received first doses and 235,740 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
  • The dashboard on Maines COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 28.8 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 17.5 percent have received final doses. For just first doses, this includes 69 percent of Maine residents age 60 and older and 21 percent of residents age 50 to 59.

"The increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses comes as Maine enters its first full week of vaccinating people ages 50 to 59," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "We continue to encourage residents who may have trouble signing up online or getting to a clinic to call the Maine Vaccination Line - 1-888-445-4111 for help."

"The increased allocation for next week will help us maintain momentum in our efforts to vaccinate more Maine people," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "Receiving more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will add flexibility to those efforts."

Currently, Maine residents age 50 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Additionally, Maine residents who are educators, school staff, and child care workers can get vaccinated.

In the 16th week of distribution, the 45,200 doses will be sent to hospitals (38,330), outpatient groups (4,570), the Maine CDC Public Health Nursing program (500), public safety (1,500), and home health and hospice (300). In addition to direct Federal allocation, Federally Qualified Health Centers will receive 1,700 doses to help vaccinate eligible people in underserved communities. Maines efforts to vaccinate older residents include the Public Health Nursing Program, which is working with long-term care facilities to vaccinate new residents and staff, and coordinating with home health agencies and others to vaccinate residents who are homebound.

Starting next week, the Department will send letters to 51,590 people age 50 and older who get health care services through MaineCare about their eligibility to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It will also provide information on how to get an appointment and access transportation services if needed. The Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get there.

As of this week, residents who are not yet eligible for a vaccine can pre-register at VaccinateME.Maine.gov. Residents who are currently eligible may also pre-register. When a vaccination appointment becomes available to you, you will receive a personal access code that allows you to look for available openings across a number of sites and schedule an appointment. Not all clinics use this system so people should continue to visit Maines COVID-19 vaccine website for a full list of sites open to residents.

Additionally, people who dont have access to the internet or otherwise struggle to get an appointment can call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. It is 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.

The State is committed to vaccinating with equity at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maine's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the spring of 2020. The vaccine distribution framework will continue to evolve with the changing vaccine supply and continued input from health care providers and various communities throughout Maine.

April 1, 2021

Maine To Place Order for 17th Week of COVID-19 Vaccines

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is preparing to place an order (PDF) for first doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, for 54,790 people, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) and Operation Warp Speed. This is an increase of 9,590 doses, not counting doses controlled by the Federal government sent directly to certain pharmacies and clinics.

Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of new doses available to Maine for distribution. Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 19,890 doses from Pfizer, 14,300 doses from Moderna, and 20,600 doses from Johnson and Johnson for the 17th week of distribution, starting April 5. Additionally, vaccination sites continue to receive and administer the second dose for individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines through a separate distribution process.

This supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be supplemented by doses the Federal government will distribute directly to Walmart / Sam’s Club pharmacies, Walgreens pharmacies, Hannaford pharmacies, Shaw’s pharmacies, and selected Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Maine. The number of doses sent to such facilities is typically determined at the end of the week prior to the following week’s distribution.

  • Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 590,395 people in the first 17 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same number of doses next week as this week.
  • As of March 31 (week 16), 712,798 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 435,700 people who have received first doses and 277,098 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
  • The dashboard on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 32.4 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 20.6 percent have received final doses. For just first doses, this includes 72 percent of Maine residents age 60 and older and 37 percent of residents age 50 to 59.

"Maine has administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to over one-third of residents ages 50 to 59, and we expect to reach two-thirds of this age group within the next week, " said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "Our work to reach out to Maine residents who may be hesitant or struggling to get a COVID-19 vaccine continues.”

"A report released this week by the U.S. CDC affirms that the vaccines are safe and effective," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “Getting shots into more Maine people’s arms moves us all closer to protecting our state from COVID-19.”

Currently, Maine residents age 50 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Additionally, Maine residents who are educators, school staff, and child care workers can get vaccinated.

In the 17th week of distribution, the 54,790 doses will be sent to hospitals (38,550), outpatient groups (8,240), independent pharmacies (3,700), public safety (4,000), and home health and hospice (300). In addition to direct Federal allocation, Federally Qualified Health Centers will receive 2,100 doses to help vaccinate eligible people in underserved communities. Maine is working with independent pharmacies and emergency medical services to support pop-up clinics sought by community-based groups whose members may otherwise face barriers to vaccination. It is working with home health agencies to vaccinate homebound older Mainers and starting to provide vaccine doses to independent primary care practices.

The Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get to a vaccination site. Additionally, people who don’t have access to the internet or otherwise need help getting an appointment can call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. It is 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.

Residents who are not yet eligible for a vaccine can pre-register at VaccinateME.Maine.gov. Residents who are currently eligible may also pre-register. When a vaccination appointment becomes available to you, you will receive a personal access code that allows you to look for available openings across a number of sites and schedule an appointment. Not all clinics use this system so people should continue to visit Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine website for a full list of sites open to residents.

The State is committed to vaccinating with equity at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maine's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the spring of 2020. The vaccine distribution framework will continue to evolve with the changing vaccine supply and continued input from health care providers and various communities throughout Maine.

April 8, 2021

Maine To Place Order for 18th Week of COVID-19 Vaccines

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is preparing to place an order for first doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, for 36,690 people, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed. This is a decrease of 18,100 doses, not counting doses controlled by the Federal government sent directly to certain pharmacies and clinics.

Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of new doses available to Maine for distribution. Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 19,890 doses from Pfizer, 14,300 doses from Moderna, and 2,500 doses from Johnson and Johnson for the 18th week of distribution, starting April 12. Additionally, vaccination sites continue to receive and administer the second dose for individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines through a separate distribution process.

This supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be supplemented by doses the Federal government will distribute directly to Walmart / Sam’s Club pharmacies, Walgreens pharmacies, Hannaford pharmacies, and selected Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Maine. The number of doses sent to such facilities is typically determined at the end of the week prior to the following week’s distribution.

  • Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 662,473 people in the first 18 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same proportion of doses coming to Maine next week as this week.
  • As of April 7 (week 17), 823,593 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 483,292 people who have received first doses and 340,301 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
  • The dashboard on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 36 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 25 percent have received final doses. This includes 66 percent of Maine residents age 50 and older receiving first doses and 47 percent who have received final doses.

"With shots in the arms of two-thirds of residents age 50 and older, Maine has begun to vaccinate younger residents," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "We urge patience yet persistence in getting an appointment next week when the supply is lower than this week.”

“Our federal partners told us to expect fluctuations in week-to-week vaccine allocations," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “As we adapt to those fluctuations, we remain committed to vaccinating Maine people quickly and equitably every week.”

All Maine residents ages 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for youth ages 16 and 17 and not all vaccination sites in Maine have this type of vaccine. In the coming days, the list of vaccination sites will indicate which ones are able to vaccinate youth.

In the 18th week of distribution, the 36,690 doses will be sent to: hospitals (30,520), outpatient groups (5,670), independent pharmacies and Public Health Nurses (400), and public safety (100). Most of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine distribution will be dedicated to the new mobile vaccine unit that will open in Oxford on April 12. Maine continues to work with independent pharmacies to support pop-up clinics sought by community-based groups whose members may otherwise face barriers to vaccination.

People who need help getting an appointment can call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. It is 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.

Additionally, the Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get there. If you have an appointment and need a ride, call 1-855-608-5172 at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment.

The State is committed to vaccinating with equity at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maine's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the spring of 2020. The vaccine distribution framework will continue to evolve with the changing vaccine supply and continued input from health care providers and various communities throughout Maine.

April 13, 2021

ADVISORY: Maine Advises Pause for Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

AUGUSTA — Governor Janet Mills, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah issued the following statement today:

“This morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution following reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in recipients in the United States. Maine CDC is not aware of any reports of these cases in Maine residents. Given this recommendation, the State of Maine is advising that providers pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the U.S. CDC’s scientific advisory committee has further reviewed the safety data.”

April 13, 2021

Update on Operations at the Mobile Vaccination Unit

AUGUSTA -- This morning, following the U.S. CDC and U.S. FDA’s recommendation, Maine advised health care providers out of an abundance of caution to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, including at the mobile vaccination unit (MVU) currently in Oxford.

As a result, appointments at the MVU scheduled today between 8:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. have been canceled and will be rescheduled.

However, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has secured and redirected Moderna vaccine from another location to the MVU so that all appointments scheduled at the MVU from 1 p.m. today through Friday, April 16 will be offered unchanged. The Moderna vaccine will be administered at these appointments.

Appointments for second doses of the Moderna vaccine will be scheduled. We urge people whose appointments were canceled at the Oxford MVU to call 1-888-445-4111 to reschedule them.

Individuals with appointments to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at other clinics will hear from those clinics about rescheduling their appointments.

The Maine Immunization Program within the Maine CDC has advised clinics that received Johnson & Johnson vaccine to store it until further information from the U.S. FDA and the U.S. CDC becomes available.

Dr. Shah will provide more information at the 2 p.m. briefing today.

April 15, 2021

Maine To Place Order for 19th Week of COVID-19 Vaccines

Maine To Place Order for 19th Week of COVID-19 Vaccines

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is preparing to place an order (PDF) for first doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for 36,460 people to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed. This is a decrease of 230 doses from the current week, not counting doses controlled by the Federal government sent directly to certain pharmacies and clinics.

Maine CDC's order reflects the maximum number of new doses available to Maine for distribution. Maine CDC's order, expected to arrive early next week, will comprise 21,060 doses from Pfizer and 15,400 doses from Moderna for the 19th week of distribution, starting April 19. Additionally, vaccination sites continue to receive and administer the second dose for individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines through a separate distribution process.

Maine is receiving no doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine next week, following the recommendation by the U.S Food and Drug Administration and U.S. CDC to pause use of that vaccine out of an abundance of caution following reports of six cases of an extremely rare and severe type of blood clot in recipients in the United States. Maine acted swiftly to redirect doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to sites that had planned to administer the J&J vaccine to ensure continued vaccinations for Maine people. This includes the mobile vaccination unit (MVU) in Oxford, where 1,650 doses of Moderna are available this week. Appointments are also available at the MVU’s next stop in Windham April 18-22 by calling the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111.

This supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be supplemented by doses the Federal government will distribute directly to retail pharmacies and selected Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Maine. The number of doses sent to such facilities is typically determined at the end of the week prior to the following week’s distribution.

  • Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 688,565 people in the first 19 weeks of distribution, assuming the pharmacy chains and FQHCs get the same proportion of doses coming to Maine next week as this week.
  • As of April 14 (week 18), 945,186 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Mainers, including 540,611 people who have received first doses and 404,575 people who have received second doses of Moderna and Pfizer or single doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
  • The dashboard on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 40 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 30 percent have received final doses. This includes 67 percent of Maine residents age 50 and older receiving first doses and 54 percent who have received final doses.

"As we continue to seek greater supply of vaccine from the federal government, we urge Maine people to be patient yet persistent in getting an appointment for these safe and effective vaccines,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “Logistical challenges are to be expected as part of this massive effort and we remain committed to a flexible, efficient and equitable vaccination strategy.”

“Our vaccination partners rose to the occasion this week to adapt in ways that made it possible to continue vaccinating Maine people quickly and equitably,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “The fine work of Maine’s entire vaccination team will allow us to maintain momentum in our efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine available throughout the state.”

All Maine residents ages 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for youth ages 16 and 17 and not all vaccination sites in Maine have this type of vaccine. The list of vaccination sites indicates which sites are able to vaccinate youth.

In the 19th week of distribution, the 36,460 doses will be sent to: hospitals (30,990), outpatient providers including the mobile vaccine unit (5,070), independent pharmacies, and public health nurses (400). Maine continues to work with independent pharmacies to support pop-up clinics sought by community-based groups whose members may otherwise face barriers to vaccination.

People who need help getting an appointment can call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. It is 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.

Additionally, the Department is offering free rides to and from appointments for people who otherwise would struggle to get there. If you have an appointment and need a ride, call 1-855-608-5172 at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment.

The State is committed to vaccinating with equity at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maine's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the spring of 2020. The vaccine distribution framework will continue to evolve with the changing vaccine supply and continued input from health care providers and various communities throughout Maine.