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Maine Launches Mobile Vaccination Unit As State CDC Adds 290 Cases Of COVID-19 On Tuesday

Rebecca Conley
Maine Public
A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Limington on March 15, 2021.

A mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic will begin traveling across Maine next week to reach rural and underserved parts of the state.

The clinic’s first stop is the Oxford Casino in western Maine. It will then travel to ten other destinations over the next two months, including Fryeburg, Calais and Madawaska.

At a briefing on Tuesday, Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said that the unit will deliver at least 250 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine each day.

"The mobile clinic will complement our existing vaccination effort, allowing us to get to people in remote or underserved communities and allowing them to get their vaccines," she said.

Lambrew said the state is partnering with FEMA and local groups to offer the clinics in communities that face various barriers.

"What we’re thinking about with this unit is trying to find those spots that are not really close to a pharmacy or a hospital or a clinic, that otherwise have people who may not be able to take off a lot of time from their jobs to get to a vaccine, that may have caregiving responsibilities that make it challenging for them to go from a place like Oxford or Fryeburg to a place that may be a while away," she said.

Residents can sign up for the clinics by calling the state’s community vaccination hotline at 1-888-445-4111. The state is offering rides to vaccine clinics for people who need them.

Lambrew said each clinic will be open for 3-5 days.

The announcement comes as the Maine Center for Disease Control identifies another 290 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the state total to more than 52,000 since the pandemic began.

No additional deaths were reported.

Maine has topped 200 daily cases for over a week as public health officials warn of a possible resurgence of the disease, particularly among people under 50 years old. But the warnings come as Maine opens up vaccine eligibility on Wednesday for all residents 16 and older.

More than 780,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state.