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Maine Submits Plan For Distributing Eventual COVID-19 Vaccine

University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP
In this May 4, 2020 photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection.

The Mills administration has submitted a plan to the federal government to distribute a vaccine for COVID-19. No vaccine has been approved yet, and state officials say Maine’s plan will evolve as more information is known.

States were given one month by the Trump administration to submit a plan. But the director of the Maine CDC says planning for an eventual vaccine began last spring. Dr. Nirav Shah said the guiding principles behind the state’s approach are equity, accessibility and flexibility.

There are four vaccines in clinical trials in the U.S., and Shah said Thursday that each is different. Some require multiple doses and others require ultra-cold storage. Whichever version is approved will affect Maine’s plan, and who will receive the vaccine first.

“Without knowing which vaccine will be available, when they’ll be available, and their efficacy in different populations, questions remain,” he said.

The Mills administration anticipates that vaccine supplies will initially be limited. Those who will likely be given first priority include health care workers in high-risk settings, people who live and work in congregate settings and others who work in critical infrastructure.

State officials are urging Congress to approve emergency funding to ensure Maine has adequate resources to distribute the eventual vaccine.