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State lifts residency requirement for vaccinations

By Fran Gonzalez | May 04, 2021

Augusta — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced a change in residency policy for receiving COVID-19 shots in Maine Tuesday, May 4.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC, said starting today, anyone 16 and over can get a vaccination, regardless of what state they reside in. The change, he said, is because more people are coming into the state, and in the case of college students, returning back to the state.

This change in policy will make it easier for people administering the shots, and also for those seeking to be vaccinated. The change, Shah said, is also because more doses are now available.

The state as a whole, he said, is starting to see a slowdown of appointment seekers. Maine CDC is doing its part in getting the word out about no-appointment walk-in clinics, and more sites are offering extended hours to address possible scheduling conflicts.

Shah said the state anticipates the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds, and added, "We will be ready." His agency has been working with providers with ultra-cold freezers to develop a network even before the vaccine gets approved. "We have had robust interest from providers," Shah said.

Addressing parents of children 12 to 15, Shah said he would strongly recommend considering getting their children vaccinated. It lowers the likelihood of infecting elderly people who might be at risk, he said.

Starting tomorrow, the mobile vaccination unit will be in Turner at the Boofy Quimby Memorial Center, 96 Howes Corner Road, until May 7. No appointments are needed and the site will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Shah said if traveling to Turner is an option, "feel free to stop by and get your vaccine."

After that the unit will head to Marden's in Waterville, 458 Memorial Drive, from May 9 to May 12. People can make an appointment and walk-ins will be accepted as well, he said. For a list of sites where the mobile unit will be in the coming weeks, visit maine.gov/governor/mills/news/mills-administration-fema-partner-mobile-vaccination-unit-provide-covid-19-vaccines-rural.

Sanford is also offering extended walk-in hours Thursday, May 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the at the former Marshall’s location at 1364 Main St.

Shah was asked about what variants have been identified in the state so far. Maine CDC has received reports of 22 cases of P1 variant he said; three cases of the 351 variant; 153 cases of the 117 variant; three cases of the B1427 variant; and 105 cases of B1429 variant.

Shah said people can protect themselves and their families against these variants by getting vaccinated. "By getting vaccinated," he said, "you prevent yourself from being a vector to transmit the variants."

Speaking about breakthrough cases, those who contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated, Shah said in all there were 110 cases in Maine. But for those who did get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, he said, symptoms were mild, and in some cases they did not know they had it.

Shah said that out of the 417 new cases of COVID-19 reported today, 169 were from May 3; 67 were from May 2; 111 were from May 1; and the remainder were from April 30.

Cumulatively 790 people have died with COVID-19 and currently 126 people are hospitalized with the disease; 56 are in intensive care units and 24 are on ventilators.

A total of 1,176,794 doses of vaccine have been administered so far in the state. This translates to 57% of eligible people who have received their first dose, and 47% have gotten all needed shots.

To see a list of all available vaccination sites in Maine, visit maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/vaccination-sites or call the community vaccination line at 888-445-4111.

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