Bangor Fire Department paramedics Nick Chapman (left) and Brian Cochrane show how they respond to EMS calls with positive or inconclusive cases of COVID-19. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A statewide survey shows that 96.9 percent of Maine’s emergency medical service workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a Wednesday report by the Maine Department of Health and Safety.

According to data reported by the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday, only 216 — or around 4 percent of the more than 4,800 EMS workers throughout the state — said that they did not plan to get vaccinated.

Out of the more than 200 departments that reported data as of Sept. 30, two-thirds saw at least 90 percent of workers fully vaccinated. Seventy-eight reported 100 percent vaccination rates. Only 15 reported less than 70 percent fully vaccinated.

Gov. Janet Mills ordered in August that all health care workers get vaccinated by Oct. 1. The mandate will begin to be enforced on Oct. 29.

Under rules adopted by the Maine EMS Board of Directors, the deadline for first responders to get vaccinated was extended to Oct. 15. Emergency dispatchers are not required to get vaccinated to continue to hold their position.

Those who are not vaccinated by the enforcement deadline can still work for EMS, but can not provide direct patient care.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.