Maine has now administered 30,877 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to data updated on Friday, and the state is one of the best at getting shots into people’s arms in what has been a slower-than-expected national rollout of vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 700 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and four additional deaths, continuing a trend of high case counts.

Maine is one of the fastest states in the country to immunize its population based on the doses that have arrived. At the federal level, Operation Warp Speed is shipping doses to states at rates much lower than promised by the Trump administration.

According to a Bloomberg News vaccine tracker updated on Thursday, Maine had given the first dose of the vaccine to 2.02 percent of its population, behind only West Virginia at 2.5 percent and South Dakota at 2.14 percent. And based on the metric of how quickly a state is using the doses that have been shipped by the federal government, Maine was tops in the nation, with 51.1 percent of doses in the arms of patients. The next-highest was South Dakota at 49.6 percent.

Maine’s vaccination rate is double the national average of 25 percent of doses that have been administered.

With the update Friday, Maine has now vaccinated 2.29 percent of its population and used 47.6 percent of its 64,775 doses. Maine is expected to receive an additional 17,075 doses next week, which will push the total to 81,850.

The first phase of immunizations – which is expected to continue to the end of January – involves vaccinating health care workers, nursing home residents and paramedics.

Nationally, 12.4 million doses have been distributed, with 3.17 million in the arms of patients, according to the Bloomberg News tracker. That’s much lower than the 20 million doses delivered to states by the end of 2020 as promised by the Trump administration.

Maine has been shorted by more than 5,000 doses by Operation Warp Speed, causing the Maine CDC to adjust its vaccine plans on the fly.

“The changes in the number of doses and mix of vaccines we’re receiving has forced us to alter some parts of our vaccination plan,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said in a statement on Thursday.

The Maine CDC has also come under increasing fire by independent practices for not vaccinating doctors and their staff quickly enough. The independent doctors contended that they were left out of early plans for immunizations despite the risk of working with COVID-19 patients. The health agency announced on Thursday that independent physicians have started getting immunized.

“Physicians, nurses and similar health care providers who practice outside of hospitals are beginning to be vaccinated,” the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Thursday. More than 50 percent of the vaccines to be administered next week include health care workers at independent medical practices, community health clinics, dialysis centers, oncology practices and medical practices affiliated with hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Maine CDC is also under pressure to include the elderly who don’t live in nursing homes in the first wave of vaccinations. Some other states, including Florida and Texas, have moved those 75 and older to the front of the line, in the same phase as health care workers. Shah said in a media briefing on Wednesday that there are pros and cons, but the idea is under discussion.

“We know other states have gone that route. I think there is more discussion to be had,” Shah said Wednesday.

The persons reported Friday to have died were a woman in her 90s from Cumberland County, a woman in her 80s from Penobscot County, a man in his 90s from Washington County and a woman in her 80s from Washington County. Overall, there have been 24,901 positive cases of COVID-19 in Maine, and 351 deaths.

The seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 479.1 on New Year’s Day, compared to 458.6 a week ago and 168.7 a month ago. There were 188 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Friday, including 48 in intensive care and 19 needing mechanical ventilation. There were 111 intensive care unit beds available of a total 376, and 234 ventilators available of 320 total. There were also 443 alternative ventilators.

Also on Friday, York County announced that it has vaccinated 225 emergency medical technicians, and is expected to vaccinate 75 more over the weekend, and 100 additional EMTs next week.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: