Emergency medical technicians in southern Maine are beginning to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said thousands of people have been vaccinated in the state, which is focusing its early efforts on front-line health care providers and residents of long-term care facilities.

The York County Incident Management Team said it has started its rollout of the vaccine to all EMTs in the county.

Fire departments in the county are storing and distributing the vaccine under an agreement with the incident management team. Fred Lamontagne, the operations chief and the fire chief in Old Orchard Beach, said the goal of the effort is to “protect our first responders in those communities with the most active outbreaks of COVID-19.”

Public health authorities in Maine have reported more than 21,500 cases of the new coronavirus in the state. About a fifth of those are in York County, the southernmost county in the state.

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