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Health

Maine Adding New Stops For Mobile Vaccine Unit In Hard-To-Reach Areas

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Rebecca Conley
/
Maine Public

State officials are planning to extend the state's mobile vaccination unit into July while also working to ensure that newly eligible teens have an opportunity to get the shots over the next couple months.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says that the mobile unit had planned to finish its work in mid-June, but the state is now planning to continue the clinics through July 2 and visit new, harder-to-reach locations.

That includes the Cianbro office building in Pittsfield on June 9-12; Black Mountain in Rumford on June 14-17; Rangeley Health and Wellness on June 19-22; the municipal complex in Limington on June 24-27; and the Kittery fire station on June 29-July 2.

"All of which we know are geographically, parts of the state where access to vaccine has been a challenge," Shah said during a briefing on Wednesday.

With teens age 12 and up now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, Maine officials say they're working on a statewide plan to get them vaccinated by the end of the summer.

DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew says that in the short-term, the state is encouraging clinics to work with schools to get shots into students' arms over the next few weeks.

"But we are going to work on a more systematic plan for June and July, recognizing, we want to make sure that every youth in the state who wants to get a vaccine, can not only get the first, but get the second dose, and be vaccinated by the time the fall school season begins," she said.

Healthcare providers in Maine have launched school-based vaccine clinics this week for eligible students.

CVS pharmacies also announced that it will begin administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 12 to 15 at its Maine locations beginning Thursday.

The vaccine was authorized by the FDA earlier this week and was recommended for use by a US CDC advisory panel today.

There are 16 CVS pharmacies in Maine that offer the vaccine. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are encouraged to ensure availability and can be made online.