Governor Mills’ Statement on U.S. Health and Human Services’ New COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations

January 12, 2021

Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations today to prioritize vaccinations for those 65 and older and those with preexisting conditions:

“My fundamental goal throughout this pandemic has been, and continues to be, to save lives. With the introduction of vaccines last month, we were given a critical new tool in this effort.

“As we look forward in our vaccine planning efforts, we know three important things: 1) this virus most seriously threatens the lives of older people and those with underlying health conditions, 2) that Maine is a state with a large number of older people and people who have underlying health conditions, and 3) that Maine is receiving a limited, unpredictable, and inconsistent supply of vaccine from the federal government. 

“Over the past several weeks, I have been closely reviewing the recommendations of the U.S. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), have discussed them with health officials to understand their applicability for our state, and in the coming days, I will announce updates to our vaccine distribution. I believe it is appropriate to first target the limited supply of vaccine Maine receives to older Mainers and those with underlying health conditions. Doing so will save lives. 

“We will review the specifics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations as they are detailed in the coming days, and will have questions related to the logistical implications for states like Maine on the changing allocation formula and distribution of second doses, among other matters. But in principle, I am encouraged that they appear to align with our goals of quickly vaccinating those who are most at risk of losing their lives to this deadly virus.”