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MaineHealth Refocuses On Vaccinating Younger Mainers As State Adds 1 Death, 288 COVID-19 Cases On Friday

Sharon Daley, Oliver Blank
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
Nurse Sharon Daley administers a COVID-19 vaccination to Oliver Blank, 18, Friday, March 19, 2021, on the island of Islesford, Maine.

MaineHealth is shifting its vaccine strategy to focus on inoculating young Mainers.

The health system says it will shut down its Scarborough mass vaccination site on May 20, amid waning demand as an increasing share of Mainers 60 and older get vaccinated.

Registration has now opened for 12 to 15-year-olds, in anticipation of the expected FDA emergency authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group next week.

“We’ve reached a point in the vaccination effort where we need to adjust to meet people where they are,” said Joan Boomsma, chief medical officer of MaineHealth, in a press release. “That means redeploying our resources to meet the needs of this younger population in different ways.”

MaineHealth is working with school districts to set up in-school vaccination clinics. The first sites will open at two high schools in Oxford County next week.

“Our goal is to get into the schools soon enough so that we can schedule second doses for students ahead of the end of the school year,” Boomsma said.

On Friday, another person died and 288 more people in Maine tested positive for COVID-19.

More than 63,400 cases have been confirmed by the Maine CDC since the start of the pandemic.

48% of the state's population has received a first dose of the vaccine, and 42% are fully vaccinated. According to NPR's vaccine tracker, that's the highest percentage in the U.S.