Maine expanded eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to everyone age 50 and older on Tuesday.
The state is using age-based tiers to apportion the limited number of coronavirus vaccines it has access to.
Everyone age 16 and older will come eligible on April 19.
The office of Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said more than 580,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Maine. More than a quarter of the state’s population has received at least a first dose of the vaccine.
“I’ve heard enthusiastic responses by e-mail, by letter, by constituent communication. People are excited about this,” said Mills during a press event at the Blaine House, the Maine governor’s mansion, on Tuesday.
Mills’ statement was supported by anecdotes of at least some people in the 50-59 age group who tried to sign up for appointments right away.
Some of them were immediately able to find appointments in Portland when select health groups began offering them on Monday, even when they were more 1,600 places down on the sign-up line.
Others on the unofficial “Fans of Dr. Nirav Shah” Facebook page, dedicated to the director of Maine's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said they had been able to secure appointments in Bangor for early next week.
State health authorities said only Maine residents are eligible to receive a vaccine in Maine at the moment.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 48,000 positive cases of the virus in the state. It has also reported 729 deaths.