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State learns Feds have no 'second doses sitting on a shelf'

By Fran Gonzalez | Jan 15, 2021

Augusta — With the recent announcement by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar that all second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines would be released, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevent Director Dr. Nirav Shah said it is likely Maine will continue to experience supply constraints in the near future.

He said he received notice this morning from the State Health Directors that "the notion there were second doses physically on a shelf, easily released, was not the case."

"There are no second doses sitting on a shelf," he said. The second doses will continue to be delivered as they are produced, and are likely to affect "how quickly you will receive your vaccination," he said.

Initially Shah said, the announcement came as welcomed news — ostensibly increasing the state's allotment. But at this point, he said, "there are more questions than there are answers."

Maine CDC reported 16 more deaths Friday, Jan. 15, and 823 new COVID-19 cases across Maine.

Shah said the recent spike is probably linked to the aftermath of holiday gatherings and not associated with the new, more contagious variant of the virus, which has not yet been detected in Maine.

At present, there are 193 people in the hospital with the disease, down from 207 Wednesday; of that total, 61 are in intensive care units and 24 are on ventilators. Across the state there are 82 critical care beds available out of a total of 391.

As of today Shah said, 70,228 people have received vaccinations, an increase of more than 8,000 doses since Wednesday; with 59,611 people having received their first dose and 10,617 having received their second dose.

The 16 additional deaths reported today include two residents of Androscoggin County, five residents of Aroostook County, two residents of Cumberland County, two residents of Hancock County, one resident of Oxford County, two residents of Penobscot County, and two residents of Washington County.

Thirteen of the people who died were women, while three were men. One was in their 40s, one was in their 50s, two were in their 60s, two were in their 70s, and 10 were 80 or older.

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