FREEPORT — Regional COVID-19 vaccination efforts are expected to remain at the Brunswick Parks and Recreation center, requiring residents from neighboring towns to commute.

Town Councilor Edward Bradley inquired Tuesday night at the Freeport Town Council meeting about the timeline and possibility of a local vaccination clinic in Freeport.

“The effort around the state is to really stand up these large-scale centers because we can get the most number of people through at any given day,” said the CEO and President of Mid Coast-Parkview Lois Skillings at the Freeport Town Council meeting on Tuesday night.

Skillings said that due to the finite number of doctors, nurses and pharmacists, large-scale and regional vaccination centers are the quickest and most effective method for vaccinating the greatest number of people.

She also mentioned that the shortage in the subzero-storage required for the vaccines can make more localized clinics less feasible.

“So that’s why we’re asking folks from Freeport, if you would, to drive to Brunswick,” Skillings said.  “Later on, in the spring and summer because of the advent of more vaccines and easier vaccines that are just one dose vaccines, it may be possible to do our usual vaccine clinics like the flu and bring it out to the public.”

Skillings said that starting Feb. 3, the clinic is working with known patients of CHANS Home Health and Hospice “to bring some vaccines into homes for people who are truly homebound.”

“The nurses are actually going over to the vaccine clinic, the pharmacist is giving them the vaccines, and they’re going directly to the homes where they already know somebody is willing to take the vaccine so that we’re not wasting a drop of it,” she said.

Skilling’s said that their plan is to “try that out for a week or so” to “see how it works” and then begin to reach out to other primary care doctors in the community to find other patients that may be homebound.

Freeport Town Manager Peter Joseph said in an interview that the town is also beginning the preliminary work to provide transportation to the clinic for Freeport residents that may not have access to reliable transportation.

Whether the COVID-19 vaccine will be an annual shot, similar to the flu, is not yet known. Skillings said in the meeting that due to the variants that are emerging in Europe and South Africa, there is a possibility that the vaccine may need annual boosters.

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

As of Wednesday morning, Mid Coast hospital has administered 8,039 doses of vaccine, 3,915 of which were at the Brunswick Parks and Recreation clinic.

According to the CDC, there have been 42,421 vaccine doses administered in Cumberland County as of Feb. 2.

The Maine CDC has reported 40,233 cases and 627 deaths statewide with Cumberland County reporting 11,427 cases and 166 deaths.

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