Maine accelerates COVID-19 vaccination timeline



AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills announced today that Maine is accelerating the timeline of its vaccination plan to make more people eligible for COVID-19 vaccines earlier.

Beginning Tuesday, March 23, Maine residents age 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccination. Beginning Monday, April 19, all Maine residents age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination. The accelerated timeline comes as some Maine vaccine providers are reporting availability of appointments and as Maine anticipates an increase in vaccine supply from the Federal government.

“Maine has been working around the clock to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. As we continue to make progress, and with more appointments becoming available and an increase in supply expected in the coming weeks, we believe it is appropriate to accelerate our timeline and make more people eligible earlier,” said Gov. Mills. “While this is certainly welcome news, Maine people should keep in mind that, even though they may be eligible, it still may take time to get an appointment and get shots into arms. We will continue to work with vaccine providers across Maine to expand our ability to deliver shots, and we are pleased that we are able to take this important step forward.”

Maine is also implementing the Biden Administration’s directive to vaccinate teachers, school staff and licensed childcare workers this month. The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have hosted vaccination clinics for Maine teachers age 60 and older.

As with all changes in eligibility, it will take some time for some vaccine clinics to begin to schedule appointments and administer COVID-19 vaccines. Some vaccine sites may now begin accepting appointments for residents aged 50 and older, while others are preparing to offer appointments in the coming days. To find a vaccination site, visit the state’s vaccine website.

To date, more than 352,000 Maine people have received their first dose of the vaccine – more than 26 percent of the population, with nearly 16 percent being fully vaccinated. To date, approximately 64 percent of Maine people age 60 or older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 35 percent completing the vaccine series.  Maine currently ranks 5th best nationwide for the percentage of its population fully vaccinated.

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, Sanford and Auburn, that are prepared to expand their capacity to give the shots with an increase in the supply of vaccine from the federal government.

Further, administration is continuing to expand vaccinations in rural and hard-to-reach communities and for Maine people who are homebound. The state and the federal government are also providing vaccines 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.

Despite having the oldest median age population in the country, Maine, adjusted for population, ranks third lowest in total number of COVID-19 cases and fourth lowest in number of deaths from COVID-19, according to the U.S. CDC. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is the fourth lowest in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins testing tracker.

Additional information on vaccination for people in Maine is available at www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines.

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