Maine reported 319 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and one additional death, as the accelerated vaccine rollout continues.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 52,996 cases of COVID-19, and 748 deaths. With cases on the rise, Maine is racing to vaccinate as many people as possible quickly, to try to avoid a huge surge in cases. Maine has through Thursday has given 483,293 people at least one shot of the vaccine, representing 35.95 percent of the state’s 1.3 million population, while 340,301, or 25.3 percent of the population, have received their final dose.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will brief the media at 2 p.m. today.
This week is the biggest week yet for vaccinations, with more than 91,000 doses available, just as the state expanded eligibility on April 7 to include everyone age 16 and older.
But next week the supply of doses could shrink.
According to allocations posted on the U.S. CDC website, the Maine CDC is slated to receive 36,690 doses next week, down from 54,790 this week and the state’s lowest weekly total in a month. The Pfizer and Moderna allocations are identical next week to this week’s amount, but the Johnson & Johnson total decreased from 20,600 doses this week to 2,500 doses next week.
But it could be that vaccinations are being shifted by the Biden administration to the federal retail pharmacy program. It won’t be known until the weekend how many additional doses Maine will receive through the federal partnership, where doses are sent to pharmacies including Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Shaw’s, Hannaford and a number of independent pharmacies.
The Biden administration has prioritized the federal retail pharmacy program and a large number of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being directed there. This week, Maine received 34,190 doses for the retail pharmacy program, including 21,100 of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Also this week, the Mills administration announced it would conduct several mobile vaccination clinics in an effort to reach underserved communities in rural Maine. The first clinic will be at Oxford Casino from April 12-16, while others will follow in locations across the state, including Fryeburg, Turner, Old Town, Calais and Madawaska. Appointments are required and the clinics are expected to administer 250 shots per day of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
This story will be updated.