The rollout of new COVID-19 booster shots has accelerated in Maine with about 3,600 shots now going into arms daily, according to the latest tracking data.

That’s a 33 percent increase from the first two weeks that followed approval of the omicron-targeting booster.

And with steady demand for appointments and growing supplies of the vaccine, Maine continues to be one of the most vaccinated states in the country.

About 48 percent of Maine people have gotten at least one booster dose compared to 33 percent of people nationwide, according to the New York Times vaccine tracker. Vermont has the highest uptake for booster shots, with 53 percent having gotten at least one dose. Maine is tied with Rhode Island as the second-highest in the nation.

That data includes both the new booster and the previous versions. There is no separate state-by-state count of people who received the latest omicron-targeting booster shot.

The latest booster was given the green light by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 1. Though some doses were available in the first few days after approval, the rollout didn’t ramp up until after Labor Day.


From Sept. 8-18, about 2,700 shots were being given daily in Maine, with the number limited by the tight supplies in the initial rollout. That has jumped to an average of 3,600 “shots-in-arms” per day from Sept. 19-Oct. 2, according to statistics from the Maine CDC.

“Demand is brisk,” said John Porter, spokesman for MaineHealth, the parent organization of Maine Medical Center in Portland and a large network of primary care offices and clinics.

“Appointments tend to get filled within 24 hours of being posted, so if you see an appointment that works for you, you should grab it,” Porter said.

Amelia Arnold, pharmacy operations manager at Community Pharmacies, which has branches in Gorham and Saco and seven other locations, said demand for the booster is “decent” overall.

“We continue to offer (vaccines) in all locations, and the demand varies by location, but we are booking most of our appointments at this time. We are currently getting enough supply to meet the demand,” Arnold said.

The pace of the booster rollout is far slower than when the initial COVID-19 vaccines became widely available in the spring of 2021. At that time, Maine was routinely giving more than 20,000 shots per day, including at large-scale clinics like the Portland Expo and Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.


Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine CDC, said the rollout of the booster is going smoothly. Initially, supplies of Moderna boosters were limited, but that has since been alleviated, Long said, and there’s now sufficient supplies of Pfizer and Moderna boosters.


The state agency also is encouraging people to get their flu shots at the same time as the omicron booster. As the weather gets colder, public health experts say it’s important to be protected against both COVID-19 and influenza.

“We encourage all Maine people to get their boosters now, before it becomes more common to gather indoors,” Long said.

Meanwhile, there are indications that the COVID-19 virus is spreading more rapidly in at least some parts of the state.

Daily case counts have become less accurate as more and more people use at-home tests to diagnose themselves. Those test results are not included in the state’s official case counts, which have not shown any significant change for three months.

Wastewater testing data can be a more reliable early indicator of a rise in cases, and some areas in Maine have experienced recent spikes in the presence of the coronavirus in wastewater systems.

Wastewater systems in the Augusta area, Brunswick and Bangor have experienced sharp increases in the presence of coronavirus during the past week. However, samples collected in Portland, Westbrook and Lewiston-Auburn have seen flat levels or even slight declines in the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Public health experts project that there will likely be increases in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter. However, with improved immunity from the vaccines and prior infections, and widely available and effective treatments for the disease, they also say case spikes are not expected to have as severe an impact on society as the previous two winters.

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