Maine health officials reported 142 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and two additional deaths as a major pharmacy chain prepares to join the vaccination effort.
Walgreens is now accepting vaccination appointments this week in Maine and 22 other states as part of a partnership with the federal government. Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies have already immunized residents. To find out how to make an appointment at Walgreens, visit Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine.
For now, dating is for people over 70, although that is expected to change soon, perhaps as soon as next week. Maine officials have said in early March that people in the 65-69 age group will likely start getting vaccinated.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to report to the media today at 2pm.
Maine has administered 301,705 injections, according to data released Tuesday, including 202,761 first doses and 98,944 second doses. Just over 15 percent of Maine’s 1.3 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Overall, Maine has recorded 43,736 COVID-19 cases and 660 deaths. Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday ordered the flags to be lowered to half-staff through Friday to honor the 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Recent trends continue to be positive, with the seven-day average of daily new cases at 140.1 on Tuesday, compared with 164.7 a week ago and 484.6 a month ago. The seven-day averages are now similar to those of early November, before the winter surge that resulted in spikes of more than 600 daily cases in mid-January. Currently, there are 67 hospitalized in Maine, including 25 in intensive care. At its peak in mid-January, 207 people were hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19.
Although a firm schedule has not been set, Mills and Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew have said that Maine would likely move to begin vaccinating the 65-69 age group once two-thirds of the population of 70 years or older would have received their treatment. first shots. That milestone could be reached next week.
While the state is still limited by vaccine supplies, shipments have increased, with Maine receiving about 36,000 doses this week by combining the state vaccination program with vaccines offered at Walmart, Sam’s Club and Walgreens. That’s roughly double the weekly doses Maine received a few weeks ago.
Even more vaccines could be coming to Maine soon. Johnson & Johnson is on the cusp of an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and approval will be possible later this week.
Company officials said Tuesday that they will be able to administer 20 million doses by the end of March. If those deadlines are met, Maine could soon receive 10,000 or more additional doses per week of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine would only require one dose, compared to the two doses needed for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines currently in use. The Biden administration is expected to increase shipments in the coming weeks, and some national public health experts have predicted that weekly shipments of vaccines in the United States will almost double by the end of March, just taking production increases into account. from Moderna and Pfizer. and not yet including Johnson & Johnson supplies.
This story will be updated.
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