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2 Mass-Vaccination Sites Open In Maine, With Another In The Works

Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public
Northern Light Health's Dr. James Jarvis gives a tour of the mass vaccination site at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.

Two more mass-vaccination sites are opening this week in Androscoggin and Piscataquis counties, and a third is planned for Hancock County.

On Wednesday, a new site located at the Auburn Mall began administering vaccines, with a goal of vaccinating up to 1,000 people per day.

Central Maine Healthcare Chief Medical Officer John Alexander says that the effort to vaccinate all Mainers is a challenge.

“But this site, by having 1,000 vaccinations a day, or, by allowing us to vaccinate up to 4,000 people per week here, means that by July 1 — and I’ll hearken President Biden’s challenge — we’ll have vaccinated more than 60,000 more individuals through this site. That’s important and that’s remarkable,” he says.

The mass vaccination site is the first in Androscoggin County, where only about 18% of residents have received at least one dose.

Another high-volume site is set to open on Friday at the Piscataquis County Ice Arena in Dover-Foxcroft.

“Our goal is eventually to reach 1,000 vaccinations each week at that site,” says Dr. James Jarvis, senior physician executive of Northern Light’s COVID-19 response.

Northern Light Health is also planning to open a new community vaccination clinic in Hancock County. Jarvis says that when up-and-running, the new site will be able to administer between 500 and 750 dose per day.

“For me, it’s all about efficiency, trying to vaccinate as many people as we can. In as safe and comfortable of an environment as we can. And we have replicated that as we have built all of our large-scale vaccination clinics,” he says.

Jarvis says the clinic will be jointly run by Northern Light Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals, and is expected to open around April 1. The new clinic will be located in a former Family Dollar space in Ellsworth.

Several other sites are already serving areas including Sanford, Portland and Bangor. Nearly a quarter of Maine residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.