Northern Light transformed the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor into a mass vaccination site in just three days leading up to its Feb. 2 opening and has been operating with precision. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Half of Mainers over the age of 16 have received the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Janet Mills announced Friday, and the state is leading the nation in vaccination rates.

The Maine Center for Disease Control reported that 50.34 percent of Maine’s population has received a second dose, and almost 58 percent of the population had received a first dose. State health officials have administered over 1.2 million doses of vaccines since they were rolled out, according to Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew.

This comes as the mass vaccination site at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor celebrated administering its 100,000th dose of the vaccine on Thursday afternoon.

“This milestone is worthy of recognition and celebration,” Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said. “But we must continue to take the threat of this virus seriously by continuing to wear masks, practice physical distancing, avoid crowds, and stay home if we don’t feel well to protect the health and safety of our loved ones and communities.”

Health care officials await federal approval for the Pfizer vaccine for use in 12 to 15 year olds, and are shifting strategies in order to provide vaccines for adolescents around the state.

MaineHealth opened its registration system for people aged 12 and older on Friday, and are working with school districts in southern Maine to set up in-school vaccination clinics.

There is currently a clinic scheduled for students ages 16 and older that will take place on Tuesday at Poland Regional High School, as well as another scheduled for Thursday at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School

Adolescents and young adults under the age of 18 will need consent from a guardian to receive a vaccination.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.