Shortage of Maine Vaccine Doses Slowing Vaccinations as Planned


Dr. Penny Pennoyer Gives a Vaccine Last Week to Dorothy Osongo, An Employee of Maine Medical Center, at MMC, Portland. (Photo by Caroline Cornish/MaineHealth)

Dr. Donald Endrizzi Vaccinates Josh Talbot, an Employee of Maine Medical Center Last Week at MMC, Portland. (Photo by Caroline Cornish/MaineHealth).

For the third consecutive week, the number of vaccine doses shipped to Maine has fallen behind the originally promised number of doses from Operation Warp Speed Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the MaineCDC, said this afternoon at his COVID-19 briefing.

Because of the shortages, Maine is only in the middle of vaccinating those in Phase 1a, although Dr. Shah did not elaborate exactly where the state should be on vaccinating those identified as priorities. Those listed in Phase 1a include health care workers and residents of long term care facilities such as skilled nursing homes.  This is a supply issue coming from Operation Warp Speed and is not a “symptom” of  MaineCDC.  “When what we get doesn’t match what we were promised, we have to go back to the drawing board,” Dr. Shah explained.

Dr. Shah said that for this week, Week 111, 19,125 doses of the vaccine are expected.  Ten thousand of those doses are expected from Pfizer and over 8,000 doses are expected from Moderna.

Still under deliberation is how to get the vaccine to independent medical professionals in related fields – such as dentists  and dialysis facilities.  Input is being sought from representations of these practices, but it could come from associations – like dental associations.  Dr. Shah said he is hopeful that within two weeks the immunization process will begin for these “outer circle” professionals.

Currently there are 22,319 individuals in Maine who have been identified with the COVID-19.  Dr. Shah maintained that the number of new cases will probably increase in the near future.  He attributed this escalation due to the recent holidays with residents returning to Maine and being tested for the dreaded virus.  He also attributed increased numbers to the on-going manner in which cases are being processed, described previously herein, including more staff members among them.  Dr. Shah recommended that concerned individuals get tested five days after interaction with others because that is how long the virus takes to show up in tests.  As of this afternoon, 17,180 individuals in Maine have been vaccinated for the virus – with a follow-up shot coming shortly thereafter.

The next briefing by Dr. Shah will come on Wednesday, December 30 at 2:00 pm.  It may be viewed on Maine Public Television and is subject to last minute changes by MaineCDC.