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Moderna Vaccine Arrives In Maine As CDC Adds 339 COVID-19 Cases, 1 Death

Central Maine Healthcare
Claire McDonough, pharmacy operations manager at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, unpacks some of the first doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to arrive on Maine on Monday.

The first doses of the new Moderna vaccine have arrived in the state.

“The state of Maine anticipates receiving 24,200 doses of this Moderna vaccine for use in health care settings and by first responders all across the state,” says Maine CDC’s director, Dr. Nirav Shah.

Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah says he’s glad the four-star Army general overseeing the mass distribution of coronavirus vaccine is taking responsibility for shipment reductions that have delayed vaccinations for some residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

“At the same time I’m still disappointed and we’d hoped for those higher allocations so that we could activate this other part of the program. So I have mixed feelings about it,” Shah says.

Shah was referring to remarks from Operation Warp Speed chief Gustave Perna, who on Saturday blamed miscommunication for vaccine deliveries that were far below what many states anticipated.

In Maine the shipment was reduced by 40%.

Vaccinations began today for skilled nurses at long-term care facilities, but Shah says inoculations for all staff and residents won’t be fully running until more doses arrive.

Shah says the federal government will notify the state on Tuesday about the number of doses in next week’s shipment.

Shah says nursing home residents and staff members are a priority for early allocations of two approved vaccines because they have been hit hardest by the novel coronavirus.

“Everyone who is watching this today knows the disproportionate burden that individual residents and staff in long-term care facilities have carried with respect to COVID-19,” he says.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, there have been more than 1,100 cases of COVID-19 among residents at Maine long-term care facilities and 165 deaths. There have also been 735 cases among staff.

Chain pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens are partnering with the federal government to conduct vaccination clinics for residents and staff, although not much public information about them has been provided.

Meanwhile, confirmed cases of COVID 19 continue to roll in, with Maine CDC reporting 339 additional cases Monday and another death — a woman in her 80s from Cumberland County. That brings the total number of Mainers who have died with COVID-19 to 293.

Addtionally, 170 people are in the hospital, with 44 in critical care and 18 on ventilators.

In all, Maine has seen 19,285 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Shah also announced opening three new outbreak investigations of what he describes as “public health significance” at Caribou Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Deering High School and Portland High School.