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Maine CDC frustrated with pace of pharmacy rollout

Six new reported COVID-19 deaths along with 313 new cases
By Fran Gonzalez | Jan 11, 2021

Augusta — Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday, Jan. 11, that he wanted to dispel rumors that large numbers of doses of COVID-19 vaccines are sitting on a shelf somewhere.

In all so far, he said, 55,775 people have been vaccinated; 49,794 have received their first dose while 5,981 have gotten both. Of the doses that are in Maine CDC's control, 82% to 93% “have been put into people’s arms,” he added.

Shah expressed concern over the pace of the pharmacy program rollout, saying some of those doses were at commercial warehouses and earmarked for the state of Maine.

That program “does not go through the Maine CDC warehouse,” he noted. Recently he told officials at one of the pharmacy programs who had admitted to having 1,950 doses currently in their warehouse to redirect and deploy the vaccines “immediately” to hospitals.

“That is a tough call to make,” he said, “but I am prepared and will continue to do that if we don’t see that pace increase moving forward.”

Asked about the number of long-term care facility residents and staff who have been vaccinated, Shah said he only had last week’s figures, which most likely would be higher this week. A total of 4,034 residents and staff were vaccinated at long-term care facilities last week.

In the future when more doses are available to the general public, Shah said, the vaccination infrastructure will need to be supplemented, “to be able to deliver high throughput vaccines at a community level.”

The main constraint on widespread vaccination continues to be the supply of doses coming into the state, “not our ability to get it out,” he said.

The Maine CDC reported six additional COVID-19-related deaths in the state today. Two residents of Aroostook County, one from Kennebec County, one from Waldo County, and two residents of York County died from the disease.

Of all who died, four were women and two were men. One was between 40 and 49; one was in their 70s; and four were in their 80s. Overall, 438 people have died from COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began.

Besides the six deaths, there were 313 new cases since yesterday.

In Waldo County, there were two additional cases of the virus reported, increasing the cumulative number to 403. Currently there are 20 people hospitalized with the disease and 18 people have died in the county because of the virus.

Statewide there are 195 people hospitalized, 58 in critical care units and 25 on ventilators. There are 103 critical care beds available from a total of 386, along with 320 ventilators.

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