Demand outpaces supply for COVID-19 vaccine

BAR HARBOR—As has been the case for every healthcare facility statewide, Mount Desert Island Hospital has more patients wishing for vaccines than doses to give. That is unlikely to change anytime soon. 

As of Monday, MDI Hospital has administered 1,234 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes 825 first doses and 409 second doses.  

“Our allocation of vaccine so far has been zero to 200 doses per week,” said Oka Hutchins, the hospitals Public Affairs Officer & Communications Manager.  

While supply may be low, demand is high. More than 6,000 people have already preregistered at the hospital website indicating that they would like to receive the vaccine when it becomes available to them.  

“When we receive word that we will be getting a shipment of vaccines, we schedule appointments for those preregistered individuals at the highest risk,” explained Hutchins, adding that the hospital is currently focused on phases 1A and 1B, which prioritize the oldest in the community, those with high-risk medical conditions, and health care workers.  

Due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine, hospital officials say they are unable to provide a timeline for when available doses can be administered.  

This week MDI Hospital’s registration system faced a challenge as email invitations sent to roughly 400 people who had preregistered for appointments were shared with others in the community who then booked appointments of their own.  

Hospital officials said on Tuesday that appointments booked using a link provided to others would be canceled “for those who do not meet current phasing guidelines to ensure that those most at risk in our community receive the vaccine as intended.  

Adjustments are also being made to the hospital’s appointment invitation system to avoid this from happening in the future. 

Maine is only receiving about 20,000 doses of vaccine each week to disperse statewide. There are more than 190,000 people in the 70 and above age range. At current supply rates, it will take more than nine weeks to inoculate just that population.  

The state’s Center for Disease Control estimates that it would need to receive 50,000 doses per week to vaccinate a majority of Maine residents by the upcoming summer season.  

As of Tuesday, 158,071 people in Maine have been vaccinated, including 117,613 people who have received their first doses and 40,458 who have received both the required doses. Last Friday, a record 8,827 shots were administered statewide.  

Next on the list to receive vaccinations will be individuals with high-risk medical conditions, Mainers between the ages of 60 and 69 and a segment of frontline workers that has yet to be identified in the state’s priority system.  

On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced plans to increase allocations of vaccines to states, promising 10.5 million more doses for the next three weeks. That translates to roughly a 16 percent increase over the previous week, but no indication was given as to how many of those would end up in Maine. 


MDI Hospital confirmed positive  

cases of COVID-19 

Hancock County: 60 

Other (non-resident): 7 

Last positive reported: Jan. 28  

Faith DeAmbrose

Faith DeAmbrose

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander

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