Maine could have enough coronavirus vaccine doses to immunize 50,000 people by the week of Christmas if the federal government approves a first candidate on Friday.
The state submitted a second order of vaccines on Friday, enough to cover 37,850 people, according to a Department of Health and Human Services press release. The state has already ordered 12,675 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which got the recommendation of a federal advisory panel on Thursday but is awaiting the final sign-off from the Food and Drug Administration.
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The second batch will include another 13,650 orders of that vaccine plus 24,200 of the Moderna candidate, which will have an approval hearing next week. The Pfizer treatment is expected to go immediately to some of the state’s biggest hospitals, while the Moderna vaccine will be distributed to smaller and more remote hospitals and state psychiatric centers.
Seven hospitals will be first in line for the vaccine: Maine Medical Center in Portland; Northern Light’s Mercy Hospital in Portland, Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and A.R. Gould Hospital in Presque Isle; Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston; St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston; and MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, according to a schedule released by the state.
The state is requiring hospitals under its coronavirus vaccine plan to prioritize high-risk workers first. First responders are next along with those with comorbidities and older individuals in congregate settings. More than 6,000 doses within the first batch of vaccines will go to long-term care facilities, according to the state.
The second round of vaccines will be distributed based on which hospitals have had the most coronavirus patients in the past two months. Approximately 500 emergency responders will be getting vaccines, and over 10,000 will go to the retail pharmacy programs to vaccinate staff and residents in long-term care facilities.
The first shipments only include the initial dose a person needs to be vaccinated, meaning a person will have to wait another three weeks to be fully vaccinated.