“The best vaccine to take is the one closest to your arm,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the MaineCDC, at his briefing today, March 2, from his Augusta office.
Dr. Shah was trying to assuage any concern that the public may be experiencing about the Johnson & Johnson and its effectiveness in battling the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hannaford Brothers will start administering the COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting later this week according to Dr. Shah. There are 35 stores across the state that will participate in this vaccination program. The one shot J&J vaccine has started arriving in Maine and the supply is coming from the federal government supply and will not affect in any way the state’s separate supply. In other words, this new venue is part of the federal government’s Retail Pharmacy Program. Appointments must be made on-line. Walk-ins will not be served. The phone number for the Forest Avenue pharmacy is: 761-5967 and stay on the line! Or go to: Hannaford.com to register for an appointment.
Pharmacist Nicole Mediouni, at the Forest Avenue Hannaford Brothers, said that the number of phone calls had gone from “dead to insane” since Dr. Shah announced that Hannaford would start administering J&J vaccines this week. As of today, Tuesday, March 2, 2021 Nicole said the store had not received its 100 doses for the week. However, those doses could arrive tomorrow. The pharmacy has started collecting a small waiting list of names. If the vaccine arrives tomorrow as expected, this small list can be contacted to come in for a shot. As of mid-afternoon, she had a list of about five names. Nicole is looking for a list of about twenty (20) individuals who contact the pharmacy to form that list. The Forest Avenue Pharmacy expects to receive 100 doses of J&J vaccine weekly. The Pharmacy expects to administer from 10 – 20 vaccines a day – every day with a special emphasis on weekends. That’s when the pharmacy business is slowest because doctors offices are closed.
Beginning on Wednesday, March 3rd, those age 60 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccination for the COVID-19 – which is an expansion of the eligibility age from previous restrictions.
Dr. Shah said that the 7-day positivity rate is at 1.35%. That rate has started to creep up here in Maine, as well in other states and worldwide. It is not known why this happening yet, but Dr. Shah is monitoring the slight upward trend.
In closing, Dr. Shah said we will continue to keep you posted as new venues open up in Maine.
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The briefing occurred at 1:00 pm rather than at 2:00 pm.