Three local fire and EMS departments have been selected to administer COVID-19 vaccines, once approved, to EMS personnel county-wide and are coordinating plans with York County EMA. In this May photo, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, receives an injection. University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP

There are many details and plans yet to work out, but three York County Fire and EMS agencies have been notified by the Maine Centers for Disease Control they have been selected to administer COVID-19 vaccines to their licensed peers throughout the county.

When and exactly how that happens depends on vaccine approvals and a host of other details, but Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach and Sanford Fire and EMS departments will be administering the vaccine to licensed emergency medical technicians and paramedics county-wide. York County Emergency Management Agency is assisting the three departments as they plan for the vaccine’s as-yet-unknown arrival and how they’ll administer it, said Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne.

Both LaMontagne and Kennebunk EMS Division Chief John Brady said the three agencies are working with Director Art Cleaves and Chief Fire Administrator Roger Hooper of York County EMA. They’ll also be coordinating with the Maine Emergency Management Agency, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and others.

“It will take everyone working together to get a multi-agency plan,” in order, said LaMontagne.

There is a lot to work out, and the exact timeline is unknown.

“We don’t know when we’ll get (the vaccine) ,” said Brady on Dec. 10. Nor do they know how many doses they’ll initially receive.

Brady said there will be a lot of logistics involved both in administering the vaccine and in making sure each dose is precisely accounted for.

Hooper, of York County EMA, said the county will activate its incident management team, which brings their planning resources to the table, to help determine a plan of action.

“We know the vaccine is coming and we’re developing plans on how to efficiently distribute and get our first responders vaccinated,” said Hooper. Once EMS personnel are vaccinated, he expects they’ll be administering it to other first responders in the county.

They’re looking at several approaches, said Hooper.

One model they’re examining is a mobile approach. Brady said under that scenario, teams would fan out to a fire department and administer vaccines to EMS personnel there and to others from neighboring agencies. There are 29 municipalities in York County and all have fire and EMS departments.

“We’re planning in advance and having early logistical discussions,” said LaMontagne. “There is nothing (concrete) at this point about dates and times, the delivery process, and administration of the vaccine itself. There’s a lot of work to be done and we hope to be ready. This is an unprecedented undertaking and if everyone is patient, it will go very smoothly.”

According to a Dec. 11 Portland Press Herald story by Kelly Bouchard, the Maine CDC expects to receive 12,675 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week for three weeks following emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Maine also expects 24,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine the first week it is available and 10,700 doses the week after that. Both vaccines require a second dose to be fully effective.

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