Maine Prepares to Administer Vaccine to All Residents 16 and Up Starting Wednesday

Mainers 16 and older will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine starting April 7

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In under a week, on April 7, Maine will allow people 16 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The move comes as people in the state started noticing a number of open vaccine appointments ahead of that date.

Reddit commenters on the "R/Maine" subreddit say they've seen slew of open appointment times in places like Bangor, and calling that availability "frustrating."

A map published this week by GoodRx also highlights multiple Maine counties as having a "surplus of COVID-19 vaccine appointments."

Asked directly about the map on Friday and whether or not surplus appointments led to Maine's decision to accelerate its vaccine timeline, Robert Long, a spokesperson for Maine CDC, pointed instead to "increased supply from our federal partners and Maine vaccination clinics' demonstrated ability to get shots into the arms of eligible people quickly and equitably drove the decision to make more Maine residents eligible sooner."

Gov. Janet Mills and Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah gave those same reasons when the acceleration was announced on Thursday.

"Maine's vaccination plan utilizes an array of clinics, including but not limited to large sites, small sites, EMS, Public Health Nursing, independent pharmacies and pharmacy chains to ensure broad and equitable access for all Maine people," Long added. "Those options are not fully reflected in the map."

GoodRx's map qualifies that its data reflects CVS, Walmart and Rite-Aid pharmacies that offer vaccine appointments "as of March 30, 2021."

As of mid-afternoon Friday, there were 30 unfilled appointments for Tuesday, April 6, listed at the Presque Isle Walmart, which is in Aroostook County.

There was only one open vaccine appointment at a Northern Light Health vaccine clinic the same day.

Maine's 16-and-older eligibility group is expected to include more than 480,000 residents who had not previously qualified for the vaccine.

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