Maine dropped its residency requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday as vaccine uptake slows down and the busy summer season approaches.
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said the change was due to more people coming into the state for the tourism season as well as returning to the state, such as college students. He also pegged the change to shots being more available in general, a marked change from the constrained attitude policymakers have had toward vaccines.
“This change is not being made because people don’t want the vaccine,” Shah said. “Rather, it’s a recognition of the ever-evolving vaccination landscape.”
Maine has given about 60 percent of the population its first dose, according to state data. But it has struggled as many states have recently to keep vaccines flowing as demand has trailed off for numerous reasons. It has tried to boost access to actively encouraging providers to give walk-in appointments and expand hours.
As of mid-April, 22 other states had taken similar steps to repeal residency requirements, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. It is the second New England state to do so after New Hampshire, which opened shots to non-residents in mid-April. Another 25 states limited shots to residents and in-state workers while just four states had a firm residency requirement.