AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – Governor Mills is moving the state toward age-based eligibility when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine and expanding the groups of people who can get the vaccine. As a result, starting next Wednesday, March 3, those over 60 can begin the vaccination process.
During a news conference Friday, Mills said the update was decided in consultation with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It reflects recent scientific data indicating that age is one of the strongest predictors of whether a person is likely to become seriously ill and die from COVID-19.
Here’s more information from the governor’s press release:
The planned schedule, which is subject to change based on fluctuations in vaccine supply, including an acceleration if supply increases, is as follows:
March 3: Eligibility is extended to residents age 60 and over
April: Eligibility extends to age 50 and over
May: Eligibility is extended to age 40 and over
June: Eligibility is extended to age 30 or older
July and beyond: 29 years or younger, including children awaiting authorization of a vaccine for them
“During the pandemic, my primary goal has been to save lives and protect our most vulnerable people. A review of recent data from the Maine CDC indicates that age is a significant predictor of whether someone will become seriously ill or more likely to die if they contract COVID-19, “said Gov. Janet Mills. “With that in mind, along with clarity, predictability, and relative ease of implementation, I believe this approach is the best option to save lives and ensure that the vaccine can be delivered to as many people as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are conducting the largest mass vaccination effort in history, and I am grateful to the people of Maine for their understanding and patience as we make the necessary adjustments to reflect the latest science and get the injections in the arms as quickly as possible. “.
“Efficiency, equity and science continue to guide our vaccination strategy,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Research that has been published in recent months consistently and forcefully shows that age matters when it comes to COVID-19 risk. As we work to vaccinate everyone on Main, from the oldest to the very young, it remains critical that Maine people continue to wear face masks in public, stay at least 6 feet away, and avoid nonessential meetings with people. who do not live with them. “
“Simply vaccinating by age will increase our gun shot rate, helping us win the race against the COVID-19 variant that is taking hold in Maine and looking forward to a summer in Maine that, with masks and social distancing, may seem normal. , ”Said Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “While eligibility extends to people in their 60s, we continue to work with healthcare providers and community partners to help those within that population who are the oldest, who are at risk or disadvantaged, or who may have difficulties getting vaccinated. site or access online dating. “
“Clinical studies show that age is the strongest predictor of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and we support the Governor’s decision to expand eligibility for vaccination to people 60 years of age and older,” said Joan Boomsma, Director. MaineHealth, the largest in the state. integrated health system. “The incidence of serious illness and death increases with age, and prioritizing in this way is a simple and robust way to assign the vaccine to those most at risk.”
As part of the immunization strategy update, Governor Mills also directed the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Department of Education to provide dedicated immunization opportunities to pre-K school personnel in the coming weeks. 12 who is eligible for the vaccine within the age categories. This planning is underway to ensure an optimized opportunity for the educational workforce, and school personnel can expect to receive information from the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services on when and where these opportunities will be provided. The Governor hopes that by providing targeted immunization opportunities for teachers within their age categories, Maine can further protect school personnel and provide more consistency to schools in terms of staffing in the future. Meanwhile, the Mills Administration has purchased 250,000 rapid BinaxNOW antigen tests that it has prioritized for schools and child care providers, to expand regular testing and support in-person learning.
All eligible Maine residents must make an appointment prior to receiving the vaccine. Because it takes time to implement changes in eligibility, newly eligible individuals must wait to make appointments until next week. For information on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy, visit: maine.gov/covid19/vaccines, which includes a list of vaccination sites throughout Maine with information on scheduling options.
Although vaccinations have begun, COVID-19 remains a serious public health crisis and the people of Maine should continue to pay attention to all health and safety protocols, including wearing masks, staying home if feeling sick, practicing physical distancing, washing hands frequently, and avoiding meetings.
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