Mid Coast Hospital’s clinic in Brunswick plans to administer 800 vaccines a day, Monday through Saturday. Contributed image via Mid Coast Hospital

BRUNSWICK — The new Midcoast Hospital vaccine clinic, which opened on Monday at the Parks and Recreation center at Brunswick Landing, is on track to meet its vaccine distribution goal for the week.

“We have appointments for 2,400 new patients and we have the vaccine to administer, so we should be right on target this week,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Bowe on Wednesday.

As of Thursday afternoon, Midcoast Hospital has administered 6,018 vaccines, 2,098 of which were at the new clinic.

The clinic’s organizers expect to administer 800 vaccines per day, Monday through Saturday, half to new patients and half for those returning for their second dose.

Bowe noted two challenges that the clinic has faced so far.

“The first challenge is that there just isn’t enough vaccine for all the people age 70 plus in the state of Maine who are very motivated to get it,” Bowe said. He said that while there are more than 300,000 Maine residents age 70 or older, the state is only receiving about 20,000 vaccine doses per week.

“Our second major challenge is that the vaccine supply going forward is not clear and, in fact, we will have a little bit less available for us next week,” Bowe said.

While the clinic is prepared to administer another 2,400 doses next week, they likely will only have a supply closer to 1,500.

The clinic is open to some community members who fall under category 1B, specifically those 70 and older, firefighters and police officers.

Others included in 1B, such as teachers, people in manufacturing, postal employees and other essential workers are not yet allowed to make appointments.

“The state has not cleared us to vaccinate them and we are just following the Maine CDC guidelines as to who we can vaccinate,” Bowe said. The clinic is still open to those in group 1A that have not yet been vaccinated.

The Brunswick Landing clinic was opened with hopes of delivering a high volume of vaccines for the community. For safety precautions and to minimize lines and crowds, vaccines are administered by appointment only.

As of Jan. 25, the Maine CDC reported 38,454 COVID-19 cases statewide and 567 deaths.

In a phone interview, Connie and Calvin Hooker of Harpswell recounted their experience receiving the first dose at the new clinic on Monday.

“It wasn’t just the shot. I realized that for 10 months I had been, I don’t want to say on edge, but certainly on alert,” Calvin Hooker said. “All of a sudden it was like, oh man, like I just got out of prison or something. That was a feeling that really had nothing to do with the shot, except for the fact that I had sort of crossed over a very large barrier.”

“It was just a flawless process,” he said. “I feel for the rest of the United States, because somebody has to come here to see how it’s done.”

“It was just outstanding that they had all that specifically laid out, that there was no confusion, you would hardly even have a question because they answered them before you asked them,” said Connie Hooker. “The biggest problem is that most people don’t know where to go and who to call and what to do (to register).”

People Plus director Stacy Frizzle-Edgerton said the senior center is recruiting volunteers for the clinic.

“One of the issues with the vaccine is that they’re communicating with a lot of people via email, and there are a significant number of older adults who don’t use technology,” Frizzle-Edergton said. “People Plus is connecting with the senior community to help them with either online or phone registration to get signed up and in the queue for their vaccination.”

Frizzle-Edgerton said  the vaccine clinic is searching for up to 12 people to work two shifts a day to help run the doors. Those interested in volunteering, please call People Plus at (207) 729-0757.

Visit midcoasthealth.com/vaccine or call (877) 780-7545 to talk with the MaineHealth vaccine scheduling team.

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