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March 9, 2021Human Services
AUGUSTA- The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today a new, free option for Maine people who need a ride to and from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
Maine DHHS is partnering with ModivCare, one of the organizations that coordinates rides for MaineCare members, to provide rides for any Maine resident who is unable to drive, lacks reliable transportation or is otherwise unable to travel to their appointment. ModivCare will in turn partner with Community Action Programs and transportation companies to provide rides. This new option is in addition to the transportation support that DHHS already offers for eligible MaineCare members who face challenges getting to their vaccine appointment.
"This new transportation option helps residents who may struggle to get to and from a clinic for a lifesaving vaccine," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "It is a new tool to promote equity in Maine's vaccination plan."
"This new help with transportation removes another obstacle facing at-risk Maine people who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19,"said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "Its a welcome addition as we continue to work to add vaccination options."
Individuals must have a vaccination appointment before requesting a ride and must request a ride at least 48 hours in advance of their appointment. More information on accessing this service is included below.
Additionally, the State has learned about the vaccine doses shipped directly by the Federal government to Maine sites on top of the States weekly allocation of 33,500 announced last Thursday. Walmart will continue to receive 4,300 doses, Walgreens will continue to receive 4,680 doses, and Hannaford will receive 1,170 - less than the 3,500 it received the week of March 1. Additionally, through the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) program, Penobscot Community Health Care will receive 1,000 doses, as it did last week, and Health Reach Community Health Centers will receive 500 doses.
Altogether, 45,150 doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Maine during the week of March 9, the thirteenth week of the vaccination effort. This is fewer than the previous weeks high of 55,060 but is more than the week of February 22 when 36,720 doses arrived in Maine.
Combined with the previous orders, Maine expects to have enough to vaccinate approximately 340,705 people in the first 13 weeks of distribution.
As of March 8 (week 13), 430,790 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Maine residents, including 274,616 people who have received first doses and 156,174 people who have received final doses.
The dashboard on Maines COVID-19 vaccination website shows that 20.4 percent of Maine residents have gotten their first doses and 11.6 percent have received final doses.
Maine has focused its vaccination on older residents given their increased risk of severe illness and death. As of March 8, nearly half (49%) of residents 60 or older received a first dose and over one in five (22%) received a final dose.
Currently, Maine residents age 60 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Additionally, Maine residents who are educators, school staff, and child care workers can get vaccinated. Maine DHHS and the Maine Department of Education are partnering with health care organizations to hold dedicated vaccination clinics for school staff aged 60 and older on March 12, 13, and other dates. Additional information on vaccination for people in Maine is available at Maines COVID-19 vaccine website.
The State is committed to vaccinating with equity at high velocity and not wasting any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The work will not stop until every resident in Maine who wants and needs a vaccine gets one.
Maine's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the spring of 2020. The vaccine distribution framework will continue to evolve with the changing vaccine supply and continued input from health care providers and various communities throughout Maine.
Information on free ride program
Individuals must have a vaccination appointment before requesting a ride. Rides will be provided to and from the appointment. These may be shared rides so DHHS can provide transportation to as many people as possible, and face masks will be required.
DHHS can provide transportation for appointments that are scheduled Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm. At least 48 hours before the vaccine appointment, individuals should call 1-855-608-5172 to reserve a ride and should have the following information ready:
MaineCare members who already use a Non-Emergency Transportation broker to arrange rides to their MaineCare-covered services should call that same broker for rides to vaccination clinics. This program is for MaineCare members who are ineligible for Non-Emergency Transportation as well as any other Maine resident who does not have access to reliable transportation to get to their vaccination appointment.