Maine — along with other states — is expected to receive an additional 5% increase in COVID-19 vaccine supply, according to an announcement on Tuesday by the White House.
Combined with an earlier boost, that’s a 22% increase for the next three weeks.
The Biden administration is also preparing to launch a Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that would allow people eligible for the vaccine to get a dose at participating pharmacies. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says the details are still being worked out.
“Namely, how much vaccine is coming to Maine, which pharmacy sites, so on and so forth,” he says.
Shah says it’s also unclear how many doses will be allocated for the pharmacy program, but it will be separate from the allotment the state receives for hospitals and other clinics. The new program is expected to begin Feb. 11.
Shah says this week’s allotment of COVID-19 vaccine is en route to the state, and any storm-related delays in delivery shouldn’t compromise their efficacy.
“The good news that we received is that the vaccine can subsist in the shipping container that they’re placed in for 72 hours without encountering any temperature concerns,” he says.
Some vaccination sites had to postpone clinics due to the weather, including a new high-volume site at Scarborough Downs. Its official opening is now slated for Wednesday.