The number of COVID-19 vaccinations being administered in Maine has remained steady in recent weeks and some providers say they are continuing to see interest even if numbers aren’t as high as they were at the peak of vaccination efforts this spring.

An average of 1,207 shots per day have been given over the last three weeks, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The 1,672 doses given Wednesday were the most since July 1, though vaccination efforts overall remain far below the April peak when as many as 25,000 shots were given in a single day.

Nationwide, the number of vaccines being given has dropped off slightly over the last two weeks from an average of 599,070 doses per day two weeks ago to an average of 529,830 on Thursday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, some states such as Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida that have seen recent COVID-19 surges are now starting to see increases in vaccinations, The Associated Press reported.

Maine already has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country with 68 percent of those 12 and over now fully vaccinated. Case counts have risen over the past two weeks but remain far below the numbers the state saw during peaks in January and April.

At Northern Light Health – a statewide network of hospitals, nursing homes and primary care facilities – vaccinations increased by 28.6 percent this week to a rolling seven-day average of 43 doses per day. Cathy Bean, manager of clinical and community health services for Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, said vaccination strategy is mostly focused on underserved populations such as non-English speaking communities, and in offering pop-up clinics at places like fairs, schools and businesses where people may be more likely to get vaccinated because of the convenience.

“I think the people who wanted to be vaccinated by and large have been,” Bean said. “There are still some people who were holding back who are now kind of deciding, ‘Ok, I will get it,’ and then there are probably some firm holdouts for whom nothing will convince them to get it.”


Bean said it’s too early to say what may have driven this week’s increase in doses administered across the Northern Light system, but she did notice increased interest at three clinics this week.

“Those were clinics that were planned well before the recent news reports (about increasing cases) but I don’t know if the recent news reports made people want to come,” Bean said. “It’s hard to say. Vaccination in Maine is kind of like turning over stones to see if you find the slug. You might turn over three and you have nothing, and you might give one and find, OK, that’s success because one more person vaccinated is great.”

In the MaineHealth network, vaccination numbers have remained “pretty much the same” over the last two to three weeks and there hasn’t been an uptick in interest due to recent news about the delta variant or increases in cases, spokesman John Porter said. One factor that could change that is if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides to give full approval to one of the vaccines.

“People may be waiting for that signal,” Porter said. “Some people may feel better about getting the vaccination, but organizations may also feel it’s more appropriate to require it at that point as well.”

The system doesn’t have any pop-up clinics planned but is continuing to offer walk-in vaccinations at seven locations, as well as encouraging vaccination through primary care providers.

“Folks listen to their doctors so we think that’s the logical place to go next with this group that still has questions,” Porter said.


At MaineGeneral Health, which includes hospitals in Augusta and Waterville and a network of physician practices throughout the Kennebec Valley area, a mass vaccination clinic was decommissioned this month but efforts to get shots out are continuing through appointments at primary care practices and pop-up clinics at community locations.

Both Pfizer and Moderna shots are being offered at the pop-up clinics and no appointment is necessary. While attendance at recent clinics has hovered around 20 people or less, Joy McKenna, a spokeswoman for MaineGeneral, said the system does feel there is growing interest in communities.

“We have been thanked by those who have come to get vaccinated, saying they appreciate the opportunity to get their vaccinations in their own community,” McKenna said in an email.

Earl Boyd, a registered nurse with MaineGeneral Hospital, administers the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Jay Galusha at the Clinton Fire and Rescue building in Clinton on Thursday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

At a pop-up clinic in Clinton Thursday, MaineGeneral vaccinated 20 people. Jay Galusha, who owns a grocery store near the clinic location at the Clinton fire station, said the convenience of the site was what prompted him to get his first shot of the Moderna vaccine there.

Galusha, 53, said he held off on getting vaccinated for a long time because he takes immunosuppressant drugs as the result of a kidney transplant years ago and wasn’t sure how the vaccine would impact his health.

“I wasn’t too worried about getting sick from COVID, I was more apprehensive about getting sick after the shot,” he said.


On top of that he said he has been short-staffed at his store and has had to work extra hours to stay open.

“I didn’t want to take a chance on missing a day of work because I was sick,” Galusha said.

In addition to the convenience, Galusha said he also was motivated to get vaccinated in hopes he might be able to visit his camp on Prince Edward Island soon. Canada announced this week that it plans to open its border to the U.S. next month, but for now only to fully vaccinated Americans.

On Friday, Galusha said he was experiencing some soreness in his arm but was otherwise feeling fine.

“If it hadn’t been for it being at the fire station right next door to me I probably wouldn’t have gotten it,” he said. “It’s just I didn’t want the hassle of making an appointment and finding a place. … Having it next door to me was really a no-brainer.”

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