This week, Governor Janet Mills announced updates to Maine’s vaccination strategy to focus on older Mainers and those with high-risk medical conditions who are more likely to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19. Due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, and because indications are that it will take months for enough vaccine to be produced for everyone in the United States, vaccines are being distributed in a phased approach.
Excerpts on specific updates to Maine’s initial vaccination phases from the Governor’s January 13 announcement include:
Updates to Phase 1a…
Maine is currently in Phase 1a of its vaccine distribution strategy, which is dedicated to protecting health care personnel, such as doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals like emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and residents of long-term care facilities. Maine is updating Phase 1a to also include:
Personnel now added to Phase 1a can begin receiving vaccines this week. Maine aims to complete Phase 1a by February.
Updates to Phase 1b…
Phase 1b is dedicated to protecting vulnerable residents and frontline workers. Maine is updating Phase 1b to include:
Phase 1b continues to include frontline workers, as recommended by the U.S. CDC’s advisory group. Maine’s progress in vaccinating people in Phase 1a allows Phase 1b to begin this month. Maine aims to complete Phase 1b by April.
Updates to Phase 1c and Phase 2…
Phase 1c will include other critical workers, while Phase 2 will include people ages 16 to 64 who are not otherwise eligible during a previous phase. These phases are planned for this spring and summer.
The Federal government is purchasing vaccines and distributing with only a week’s notice a limited, unpredictable, and inconsistent supply to states for further distribution. To date, Maine has only received enough doses to vaccinate 7 percent of residents against COVID-19.
Adjusting for its population size, Maine ranks second lowest in the nation on total hospitalizations, third lowest on cases, and fourth lowest on deaths from COVID-19. Additionally, Maine continues to rank among the top 20 states on Moody’s Analytics and CNN Business “Back-to-Normal Index.”
Although vaccinations have begun, COVID-19 remains a serious public health crisis and Maine people should continue to heed all health and safety protocols, including wearing masks, staying home if you feel sick, practicing physical distancing, washing hands often, and avoiding gatherings.
For the latest updates and FAQs, please visit www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines.