Frank Gross, a substitute teacher at Brunswick High School, lifts his sleeve as he prepares to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Brunswick Parks and Recreation on March 12. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Mid Coast Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Brunswick Landing is now accepting walk-in appointments, a sign that vaccine supply is beginning to meet, or even exceed, demand.

As of Monday, the clinic had administered 49,077 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 22,034 being second doses.

Since first opening for walk-ins Thursday afternoon, the clinic had only done 47 walk-in vaccinations as of Monday morning according to Mid Coast Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Bowe.

“I think that’s a little surprising,” said Bowe. “It’s lower than I expected.”

Bowe said the reason for the smaller-than-expected turnout could be a combination of factors, including the short amount of time to communicate the new walk-in availability to the public and people simply wanting to wait until after the weekend.

The clinic’s largest challenge had been having a large enough supply of vaccine to meet the demand. Now Bowe said he believes the supply and demand are starting to equalize, and perhaps the supply is even beginning to exceed the demand.

“I think the supply is starting to get ahead a little bit of the demand,” Bowe said. “I think they’re probably closely matched but certainly supply is catching up, where we’ve been behind in supply for quite some time.”

According to a report from the Portland Press Herald on Thursday, new walk-in availability and shrinking demand seems to be a statewide trend, as daily shots have decreased by about 40% from the peak average roughly two weeks ago (in part due to the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

The Brunswick Landing clinic’s goal remains to administer 1,000 doses per day, 6,000 per week, split between first and second doses.

While in the past meeting the goal was highly dependent on the amount of vaccine given to the clinic by the state, Bowe said that right now, even if the clinic had full supply, demand is not quite high enough to fill 3,000 new appointments in a week.

“We wanted to make sure that we could extend that opportunity to individuals who were having challenges signing up for vaccination,” Bowe said. “Just by having enough supply of vaccine, we knew we were able to open to the walk-in crowd.”

As of April 7, all Mainers age 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine.

According to Bowe, the clinic, which is stationed in the parks and recreation building, has not yet determined a closing date. Bowe said if the FDA approves the vaccine for individuals under 16 in May, the clinic will likely see another surge in demand.

Since the clinic first opened in January, volunteers have played a crucial role in the operation and, according to a press release from the hospital, at times up to 80% of the staff at the clinic are volunteers.

This translates to more than 10,000 hours of cumulative service from more than 500 volunteers.

One of them is Brunswick High School Junior Nolan Marblestone, 16, who has volunteered at the clinic since February and leads the check-out station.

“I want to go into healthcare as a career hopefully,” said Marblestone. “We’ve definitely had a good share of challenges … I think I’ve learned to be a lot more adaptable under pressure.”

According to governor’s office, roughly 56% of Mainers are fully vaccinated, with Cumberland County leading at 70% of people fully vaccination.

62,092 cases of COVID-19 have been reported statewide in Maine, alongside 790 deaths. In Cumberland County, 16,251 cases have been reported, with 189 deaths.

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