A Downeast EMS ambulance can be seen in Lubec in this undated photo. Credit: Courtesy of Downeast EMS

Two emergency medical service providers in Washington County have called on the state to reverse the requirement that all medical staff get vaccinated before Oct. 1.

Downeast EMS and Moosabec Ambulance Service said that the mandate will cause significant staffing problems and could strain already thin resources, according to NewsCenter Maine.

Announced on Thursday, the mandate would require that all medical staff, including EMTs and ambulance drivers, be fully vaccinated before the start of October. Although it has led to some staffing fears, a large percentage of Maine’s health care workers have received a vaccination.  However some have said they feel they are being forced out of the field because of the mandate. 

Eddie Moreside, the director of Downeast EMS, told NewsCenter Maine that the emergency medical service in Washington County is already short-staffed, and the vaccination mandate would just cause the service to lose more staff. He said 40 percent of the staff do not want to get vaccinated.

Downeast EMS serves about one third of Washington County.

Renee Gray, who runs the Moosabec Ambulance Service, told the news station that about half of the volunteer EMS crew are unwilling to get vaccinated.

Gray also added that her volunteer staff had not gotten sick while transporting COVID-19 patients over the past year, which she felt was due to the use of personal protective equipment.

“This mandate will not work for us, we need this to be reversed,” Gray told NewsCenter.

Leela Stockley

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