In line with President Biden’s directive, Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration is accelerating the schedule of Maine’s vaccination plan to make all Maine adults eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1.
“From the day we received our first shipment of vaccines, we have been determined to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, focusing our limited supply first on those who are most at risk of dying from COVID-19. With the Biden Administration promising to increase the supply of vaccine in the next few months, we will do what we had always hoped we could: accelerate our vaccine timeline,” said Governor Janet Mills. “As the Biden Administration works to get us shots, we will continue our work to get them into arms. The future is getting brighter, but there is more to do – and my Administration will continue to work with the President and with health care providers across the state to get people vaccinated and move us closer to getting back to normal.”
“Ensuring that all Maine people can receive these safe and effective vaccines as quickly, efficiently and equitably as possible will put our state on a path to recovery,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “While we must all remain vigilant against this virus, these additional doses on the horizon bring the hope of a healthier Maine summer. We are doubling down on our work with partners throughout the state to get shots into arms and protect the health of Maine people.”
“From the outset, our vaccination plan focused on creating an infrastructure to get shots into the arms of as many Maine people as possible as quickly and equitably as possible,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Our large-scale community vaccination clinics can vaccinate more people as soon as our federal partners can increase weekly allocations to Maine, and we continue to add vaccination options in every part of the state. Through collaboration with Maine’s health systems, pharmacies, clinicians, and others, we will be ready when larger allocations arrive in the state.”
In announcing Maine’s age-based vaccination approach two weeks ago, Governor Mills said the timeframe could be accelerated based on an increase in supply of vaccine.
Following the President’s directive last night, the planned vaccine schedule is now as follows:
- March 3: Age 60 and older
- April 1: Age 50 and older
- May 1: All adults
The Mills Administration continues to take steps to expand the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in Maine, including standing up large-scale vaccination sites – most recently in Portland and Sanford – that are prepared to expand their capacity to get shots into arms with an increase in the supply of vaccine from the Federal government.
Further, the Mills Administration is continuing to expand vaccinations in rural and hard-to-reach communities by supporting consortia of health care providers that serve Washington, Aroostook, and northern Penobscot counties, as well as Maine’s island communities. The State and the Federal Government are also providing vaccine to Community Health Centers for underserved areas. Independent pharmacies and emergency medical services clinicians are visiting independent senior living communities to vaccinate residents on-site and public health nurses are holding clinics throughout the state to meet the needs of at-risk Maine people who cannot easily travel to large-scale community vaccination clinics.
Maine is also implementing the Biden Administration’s directive to vaccinate teachers, school staff, and licensed child care workers. Beginning today, the Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are hosting vaccination clinics for Maine teachers age 60 and older.
To date, more than 302,000 Maine people have received their first dose of the vaccine – more than 22 percent of our population, with more than 13 percent being fully vaccinated. To date, approximately 55 percent of Maine people age 60 or older have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 27 percent completing the vaccine series. In Maine, 98 percent of deaths from COVID-19 have been people aged 50 and older.
Despite having the oldest median age population in the country, Maine, adjusted for population, ranks third lowest in total number of cases and fourth lowest in number of deaths from COVID-19, according to the U.S. CDC. The state’s seven-day testing volume is fifth best in the nation and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is the lowest in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins testing tracker. Additionally, according to Moody’s Analytics and CNN Business’s “Back to Normal Index”, Maine is best in New England in returning to pre-pandemic economic activity.
Additional information on vaccination for people in Maine is available at Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine website.