Maine’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is continuing to expand, although not as fast as either public health officials or the public would like. The number of vaccine doses arriving in Maine and being injected into arms is growing steadily, however.

Here are answers to some of the many questions about the state vaccination program. Have others? Email them to [email protected].

How can I get vaccinated?

With vaccine supplies still extremely limited nationwide, Maine is currently focusing on residents 60 and older. The number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Maine is growing steadily, although demand still outstrips vaccine supplies so even eligible people will likely have to wait. And that wait could be anywhere from a few days to many weeks, depending on the clinic operator.

Looking ahead, Maine expects to make vaccines available to those 50 and older in April, to those in their 40s in May and to those in their 30s in June. Individuals under 30, including children if a vaccine is authorized for them, will be targeted in July and beyond.

Maine currently has no centralized, statewide vaccination registration and appointment system, although one is in the works. As a result, there is a confusing hodgepodge of systems operated by different health care providers.

An up-to-date list of health care centers offering COVID vaccines can be found at the Maine Office of the Governor’s website.

With more than 50 clinic locations statewide and that number growing, it’s not possible to list them all here. But below are some of the larger hospital or health care networks that are making appointments for eligible individuals (again, those age 70-plus) regardless of whether they are a patient in the network.

MaineHealth – registration for eligible individuals (and preregistration for those not yet eligible) at 877-780-7545. Callers will be put on a waitlist and contacted when appointments are available.

Northern Light Health – registration online at covid.northernlighthealth.org or by calling 207-204-8551.

Central Maine Medical Center – appointments on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible individuals by calling 207-520-2917.

MaineGeneral Health in Augusta: preregistration available for eligible individuals online or by calling 866-968-8219. For hearing impaired individuals, call 711 or 800-437-1220

York Hospital: Registration for eligible individuals online or by calling 207-752-8685.

Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies: appointment can be scheduled online only for eligible individuals at pharmacies. All 22 Walmart locations in Maine and the two Sam’s Club locations are offering vaccine appointments to on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some medium-sized health care networks, such as InterMed and Martin’s Point Health Care, as well as community health centers are offering vaccines to their patients only.

Vaccinations also are being offered to the eligible public by hospitals in more rural areas of Maine, including in: Bridgton, Calais, Caribou, Machias, Houlton, Millinocket, Bar Harbor, Madawaska, Lincoln, Skowhegan and Rumford. For registration or contact information on those sites, go to the state CDC’s COVID site for locations.

When will a statewide, centralized registration website or call center be available?

That’s unclear.

State health officials said in late-January that a statewide system was still weeks away. Asked about the timeline on Tuesday, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said “we are still a ways away from  having it online.”

Shah said that, in addition to contractual and administrative details, the Maine CDC also is trying to make sure that health care providers can interact with the system, both to input information about upcoming clinics and to reach individuals who registered for appointments.

What is the latest anticipated timeline for vaccinations in Maine?

As of February 26, Maine is using a strictly age-based eligibility system for vaccinations. The timeline listed below could change, depending on the pace of dose deliveries to the state and how quickly clinics are administering shots. But here are the latest estimates:

Currently: All Maine residents age 70 or older as well as medical professionals, public safety workers, COVID-19 response personnel, residents and staff at long-term care homes, assisted living facilities, etc…

Starting March 3: Age 60 and older

April: Age 50 and older

May: Age 40 and older

June: Age 30 and older

July: All ages including children, pending federal approval of vaccines for children

Can I get vaccinated by my primary care physician or at a local, independent doctor’s office?

Probably not yet, despite repeated requests from smaller practices.

The Maine CDC is currently sending most vaccine doses to larger networks (such as those operated by Northern Light Health or MaineHealth) as well as hospitals because they are viewed as having the capacity to quickly inoculate larger numbers of people. State officials say they eventually hope to allocate doses to these smaller private practices, but it’s not happening yet.

Some independent physicians are putting together proposals to partner with other offices in their area to jointly offer vaccination clinics to larger numbers of individuals. But as of this week, none of those appear to have been approved by the state or allocated any vaccine doses.

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