Elizabeth “Libby” Ranco, 83, of Alton gets her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Liz Round, a UMaine nursing student, at Penobscot Valley Health Center at 103 Maine Avenue in Bangor on Feb. 4, 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

More than half of the people over age 70 in the state of Maine have been vaccinated, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s director said.

Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said Monday during an appearance on Maine Public that the use of multiple platforms has helped swiftly vaccinate older residents. That includes clinics, hospitals and other venues, he said.

Shah also said Monday that the appearance of virus variants in Maine and elsewhere is a concern but doesn’t have to be a disaster. Maine has been the site of two confirmed variants so far.

The state can keep up with the spread of variants by aggressively vaccinating the public, Shah said. The United Kingdom has had success doing that, he said.

“It’s not a reason for universal loss of hope,” Shah said.

Story by David Sharp and Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press