PRESQUE ISLE – Providers and leaders at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital are firm believers in the fact that boosters are a critical tool in slowing down the community spread of COVID-19, as well as protecting ourselves and our loved ones from serious illness. With that in mind, the hospital is taking steps to make access as easy as possible.
The hospital is adding walk-in vaccination options for community members 12 and over at Northern Light Walk-In Care in Presque Isle. Previously, all of these appointments had to be reserved through Northern Light Health’s online signup tool.
“We realize that the need to sign up online may be a barrier for some. To make things simpler, we are now offering the option of people just walking in on Wednesday and Friday afternoons to be vaccinated or boosted,” said Jessica St. Peter, director of quality and a leader in the hospital’s COVID-19 response. “We will accept up to 50 individuals, age 12 and older, on a walk-in basis each of these days between 1-4 p.m.”
Boosters continue to be offered each weekday afternoon by appointment, which can be scheduled online at covid.northernlighthealth.org.
Pfizer vaccines and boosters are offered each day except Thursday, which is currently reserved for those preferring Moderna. COVID vaccines also remain available through the hospital’s primary care offices.
Why are boosters so important?
“Our immunity begins to wane five months after receiving an mRNA vaccine [Pfizer or Moderna] or two months after receiving a J&J vaccine. If someone is immunocompromised, immunity can begin to wane as fast as four weeks after receiving the second dose of a vaccine. So, it’s very important for people to receive their boosters,” said Dr. Thomas Macharia, AR Gould’s infectious disease specialist.
With the rise of new variants, it is important that people have the antibodies they need in their system. This higher level of immunity comes from getting a booster shot once you are eligible to do so.
“Compared to those without a booster dose, people who are boosted are 11 times less likely to become infected, 19 times less likely to develop severe infection, and have 90 percent reduced risk of death if they are infected,” said Dr. Macharia.
People with questions about whether or not getting vaccinated or boosted is right for them or their child are encouraged to speak to their primary care provider or pediatrician. The Maine CDC is also a great resource: www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc.