Registered Nurse Cathy Bean, clinical manager for community health and telehealth for Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, right, prepares doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the provider’s vaccine clinic at the Maine Mall in South Portland Monday. Registered Nurse Helen Peasley looks on. Sean Murphy / The Forecaster

Health care provider Northern Light Home Care & Hospice has partnered with Maine Mall managing company Brookfield Properties to open a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the mall, with more than 2,000 doses of the vaccine expected to be administered by the end of this week.

The clinic, occupying the former Pier 1 Imports storefront, officially opened on March 3, with clinicians administering 500 doses in that day alone, said Jacqueline Welsh, Northern Light’s director of philanthropy and community relations.

Outside the clinic on Monday, some patients arrived early for their appointments.

“I want to be able to go places,” said Cathy Mahan, of South Portland, as she headed into the clinic.

Peter Fromuth, of Yarmouth, who said he is in his early 60s, said his wait was “very brief,” and worth it considering how happy getting the vaccine made him.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “Are you kidding me? I’ve been waiting for this for a year. How could you not be?”

Mahan came out after about 30 minutes and said she didn’t feel like she was kept waiting.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Mahan said, adding that she was pleased with the process.

The former store is divided in half, with a few tables on the left for patients to sign consent forms, privacy screens where health care workers administer doses, and chairs spaced 6 feet apart on the right side of the room.

Patients need to sit for 15 minutes after receiving their dose to ensure they don’t develop a reaction before they can leave, Welsh said. Otherwise, she said, the process is designed to be fast and easy.

“We have had, in this space, very little waiting,” Welsh said.

Welsh said Northern Light has administered more than 8,000 doses of the vaccine statewide, through clinics, local senior centers and community centers, mobile vaccine centers, and even out of the provider’s 50 Foden Road offices in South Portland, which accommodates as many as 400 patients a day.

Workers get ready to open Northern Light Home Care & Hospice’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Maine Mall in South Portland Monday. Sean Murphy / The Forecaster

Patients can make appointments from anywhere in the state by visiting the provider’s website or by calling 204-8551. On Monday, Welsh said the clinic at the mall was planning to receive 175 patients. Another 500 were scheduled for Friday, with 1,000 scheduled for Saturday. The clinic would be open on Wednesday, too, she said, but the number of appointments that day was not available.

“We schedule the clinics according to how much vaccine we can get,” she said.

In theory, she said, the mall clinic could accommodate up to 100 patients per hour for 8-10 hours per day, but right now the clinic cannot get enough doses. She did say, however, that the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are delivering all the doses they have promised.

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