MaineHealth, the region’s largest integrated health system, administered the first vaccinations for COVID-19 to its front-line caregivers starting this morning according to a press release issued today.
At 9:00 am., Kayla Mitchell, RN, BSN, became the first care team member of MaineHealth to receive the vaccine. Mitchell is a nurse who treats COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Maine Medical Center, (MMC), Portland.
“I’m excited to be able to be a part of the solution and make the community a safer place at this critical moment,” said Mitchell after receiving the vaccine. I’ve watched people suffer with this illness. I trust the science and I trust that this is a solution.”
Mitchell is one of 150 MaineHealth caregivers scheduled to be vaccinated today at MMC in Portland and Southern MaineHealth Care in Biddeford. Tomorrow vaccinations will start at a third MaineHealth hospital, Mid Coast-Parkview Health in Brunswick. Those three southern Maine hospitals have treated the most COVID-19 patients during the pandemic within MaineHealth and were prioritized for the first doses for that reason.
MaineHealth is set to receive an initial allotment of 1,900 doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer during the first week of distribution. Initially, distribution will focus on Intensive Care Unit teams, front-line Emergency Department Caregivers, those providing care in dedicated COVID-19 inpatient units and other critical and essential impatient services not available elsewhere.
A second vaccine, made by Moderna, is set for review by the Food and Drug Administration’s expert panel on Thursday. Assuming that vaccine is approved, Maine Health is expecting another 15,775 doses to arrive beginning the week of December 21st, including another 975 Pfizer doses with the balance from Moderna. That will be enough to inoculate all of MaineHealth’s direct caregivers.
“By having our care team protected against COVID-19, we can better assure that we will be ready to treat, not just those suffering with COVID, but everyone who needs care during this time,” said Dr. Dora Mills, MD., MaineHealth’s Chief Health Improvement Office.