BAR HARBOR —Mount Desert Hospital President and CEO Chrissi Maguire, along with other local health specialists, provided information and answered questions from the public about COVID-19 vaccines during a virtual town hall series on Monday, Feb. 22.
“In Maine, nearly 300,000 cumulative doses have been administered, which includes 10,000 doses in Hancock County and more than 2,000 doses at MDI Hospital,” said Maguire. She went on to say that 296,253 doses have been administered statewide; 10,795 doses have been administered in Hancock County; and 2,278 doses have been administered by hospital staff.
MDI Hospital Director of Pharmacy Trevor Casey said that since the hospital began administering doses on Dec. 23, it has been a priority to vaccinate health care workers and those over the age of 70. “We’ve given out 206 doses [to people] over the age of 90, we’ve given out 440 doses to ages 80–89, and 307 doses to ages 70–79,” he said.
Casey explained that aside from health care workers, the hospital’s goals have been to prioritize vaccinating seniors above the age of 90. “We are trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible; we are moving as swiftly as possible,” he said.
“The way Maine has done [its] phases for releasing the vaccine is very close to the federal CDC guidelines,” Dr. Julius Krevans said, adding that “healthcare workers and Maine residents over the age of 70 are the first priority for Maine,” which is why those who have registered online who do not fit that criteria have not been scheduled yet to get the shot. “The vaccine belongs to the state and we administer it under the state’s rules … our institution is prioritizing the oldest [people] first,” he said.
“The Maine CDC determines the allocations,” said Maguire, who went on to say that the hospital has been issued between 200 and 500 doses per week from the state. This week, the hospital plans to receive 500 doses, with 350 doses to be used for the greater community and 150 doses to go to the outer islands. “Last week we received approximately 200 [doses], plus we received concurrently the second dose allocations for those who have received their first doses [who now need] their second doses,” Maguire said.
Although there is no telling if the current vaccine will protect against future variants, physician assistant Kate Worcester said she feels that it’s more important to get the vaccine out. “Data has shown thus far that the current COVID vaccination we have gives us good coverage against the U.K. variant; it also looks like that [you] are not able to transmit the U.K. variant if you are fully vaccinated,” she said.
Worcester said that doctors believe that the vaccine covers people to a level that if they were to get sick, the symptoms would be mild. “Most likely we will be looking at a booster at some point that will include coverage on those spike proteins, which have actually changed or mutated in those variant types of the SARS COVID.”