Governor Mills Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Eligibility to All Maine Adults – Community News
Covid-19

Governor Mills Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Eligibility to All Maine Adults

Governor Janet Mills announced today that all Maine adults age 18 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, effective immediately, regardless of underlying medical condition. Expanding booster eligibility will protect the health of the people of Maine, limit transmission of the deadly Delta variant, and preserve the capacity of our health care system that is now overstretched due to an ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases. Because of this increase, particularly among unvaccinated individuals, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention determined that all Maine residents live or work in high-risk environments, justifying the expansion of booster eligibility.

“Vaccines are saving the lives of people in Maine and preventing them from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With Maine and other New England states facing a sustained wave and cold weather sending people in, we want to simplify the federal government’s complicated eligibility guidelines and make getting a booster shot as simple and easy as possible. Whether it’s your third or first injection, getting the vaccine could save your life, it will keep your family working and it’s the only way to ease the burden on our doctors, nurses, CNAs, nursing homes and hospitals . I urge all people in Maine to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Maine’s high vaccination rate saves lives and reduces hospitalizations and deaths. said Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “But with the continued increase in the Delta variant, we must do everything we can to protect the people of Maine from this deadly virus and ease the burden on our health care workers. Now every adult in Maine can get an extra shot to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”

“Given the high level of COVID-19 transmission in Maine, we want people in Maine to be clear that all adults are now eligible for a booster,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine CDC. “If you haven’t been boosted or vaccinated yet, now is the time.”

Effective immediately, people 18 and older can receive a booster shot in Maine if:

  • They completed the vaccination series with two doses of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago; OR
  • They received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine at least two months ago.

Maine joins at least four other states — Colorado, California, New Mexico and Arkansas — that have made the COVID-19 booster available to all adults.

Recent scientific studies have shown that while vaccination remains highly effective in preventing infection and serious illness, protection may diminish over time after COVID-19 vaccination. Infection and milder illness can still occur, as decreased protection against vaccination seems to occur further away from the initial vaccination.

Maine CDC has notified health care providers of the expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 booster injection and encouraged them to make it available to all adults. While some sites that administer boosters take time to become more eligible, booster doses are available at many vaccination sites. Find a vaccination site or call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111.

Maine is also expanding its support for hospitals to manage the recent record number of patients with COVID-19, including additional flexibility for acute care hospitals to use Critical Access Hospitals to alleviate capacity constraints and expanding support for hospitals under pressure ​​by COVID-19 through the Maine Responds Emergency Health Volunteer System that organizes healthcare, public health and emergency response volunteers to respond to emergencies. These steps are in addition to the governor’s biennial budget, which last month provided $23 million in one-time additional COVID-19 payments to hospitals to support their staff and patient care.

“The most important people have done their best time and again to help their fellow citizens get through this pandemic,” continued Governor Mills. “If you have healthcare experience and can give our healthcare workers a much-needed break, volunteer through Maine Responds. Your contribution will benefit everyone. You can save lives.”

People can sign up at www.maineresponds.org/.

In Maine, nearly 200,000 people, or 20.7 percent of fully vaccinated people, have received a booster dose, according to the US CDC. Maine has the third highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents, with nearly 72 percent of Maine residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The US CDC rate also includes some individuals who are not counted in the Maine CDC’s vaccination tracker, such as those vaccinated through the Veterans Administration, the Indian Health Services, and the Department of Defense.