An employee with the McKesson Corporation packs a box of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine into a cooler for shipping from their facility in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021. Credit: Timothy D. Easley / AP

Maine will get more than 55,000 new vaccines this week as the federal government distributes the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine, increasing the total number of vaccines sent here since mid-December by more than 20 percent in just one shipment.

The massive increase in supply comes as Maine is set to extend vaccinations to residents between the ages of 60 and 69 on Wednesday. Maine’s supply has increased steadily for weeks, but the 55,000 is more than double the total the state received just two weeks ago.

State officials lauded federal regulators’ approval of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this weekend, saying the vaccine — which does not need to be kept at super-cold temperatures — would make distribution easier in some parts of the state. Public health nurses and independent pharmacies will distribute 2,700 doses of that vaccine to “hard-to-reach” older Mainers this week, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday.

That is part of the 11,500 Johnson & Johnson shots Maine expects to receive, which come in addition to the more than 39,000 Pfizer and Moderna first doses the state announced last week. Another 4,500 doses are going straight to other health care entities, the state said.

Maine’s initial vaccine rollout targeted residents of long-term care facilities, health care workers, first responders and others deemed essential to the state’s virus response. The state extended eligibility to residents aged 70 and older in mid-January before lowering the eligibility age to 60 starting Wednesday.

As of Monday, nearly two-thirds of Mainers aged 70 and up had received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to state data. About 11 percent of Mainers in their 60s have already received at least one vaccine dose because they work in an eligible occupation or are a resident of a long-term care facility.