© 2024 Maine Public
1450 Lisbon St.
Lewiston, ME 04240

Maine Public Membership Department
63 Texas Ave.
Bangor, ME 04401

Portland Office
323 Marginal Way
Portland, ME 04101

Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Scroll down to see all available streams.

Maine's Rural Community Health Centers Get First-Dose Allocations Blanked Out Amid Reduced Vaccine Supply

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

Federally qualified health centers in Maine aren't receiving any first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week from the state.

The director of Springvale-based Nasson Health Care, Marty Sabol, says rural community health centers should be prioritized even as Maine sees an overall reduction in allocation, due to low supplies of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

"What's just so frustrating is the fact that the age groups have broadened to include basically all adults. And, word's out, and people are calling us, requesting the vaccine. There's incredible demand right now, and we just — with all the news about the change in eligibility, we can't meet that demand," he says.

Sabol says Nasson Health Care has the capacity to administer up to 400 doses a week. He says he's frustrated that the state isn't putting more priority on health centers that serve rural communities.

"We understand there's great interest in serving rural residents of the state. But every time there's a shortage, every time things dry up a bit with the supply chain, we lose our supply. It's hard to explain to patients, and it's hard to plan anything," he says.