Maine has continued to add new COVID-19 vaccination sites since extending eligibility to older Mainers more than a month ago, now boasting more than 120 locations statewide.
The openings of new sites come as Mainers aged 60 and up will be eligible for vaccinations beginning Wednesday. Nearly two-thirds of people aged 70 and up have already received at least one dose, according to state data.
After high interest in vaccines led to clogged phone lines and website slowdowns when Maine rolled out the vaccine to those aged 70 and up, the additional sites — and increased supply — should help Maine meet some of the new demand. Not all of the roughly 175,000 Mainers in their 60s awaiting vaccines will be able to get one right away, however.
For eligible Mainers looking for a vaccine, there are several places to check. More than half of Maine’s vaccine clinics are part of the federal retail pharmacy program, which sends vaccines to Walmart, Walgreens, Hannaford and Sam’s Club locations. The rest are run by health care providers, either at hospitals or third-party sites. Most hospitals are vaccinating any member of the public who is eligible, but some are only vaccinating current patients.
Maine does not have a centralized vaccine scheduling system, so appointments must be made with individual hospitals or pharmacies. Walmart, Walgreens, Hannaford and Sam’s Club all accept appointments online. Some hospitals, including Northern Light Health, which operates nearly a dozen sites, have online registration, while others, such as MaineHealth, ask people to call.
A list of vaccination sites is available on the state’s website. For Mainers who lack access to the internet or are otherwise struggling to make an appointment, health officials recommend calling 211 or their local Area Agency on Aging for scheduling assistance.
Most sites in Maine will be offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of which require two shots, though a few will begin administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose, this week.
State health officials have recommended that Mainers take any vaccine available to them. Though the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines performed better in clinical trials in preventing cases of COVID-19, all three were universally effective in preventing severe illness and death.