By Shelley Farrington Lincoln News • March 18, 2021
MILLINOCKET – Staff at Millinocket Regional Hospital conducted its first “second-shot” clinic March 17 to fully vaccinate more than 300 citizens who received their first shots at MRH’s first mass clinic on Feb. 17. Another 300 citizens will receive “first” shots.
The clinic was again held at Stearns High School from 9 am until 1 p.m. Because of the need to use the gymnasium and lobby and maintain CDC guidelines the school conducted a virtual day.
Those receiving the second shots will now be considered fully immunized against COVID-19 two weeks from now. However that doesn’t mean those vaccinated can let their guards down or forgo safety protocols in place.
MRH Infection Preventionist Todd Phillips said the guidelines for masking, washing your hands and/or using hand sanitizer and social distancing are still very important in maintaining community health.
The March 17 clinic marks the third successful mass vaccination clinic put on by MRH at Stearns. Both school and hospital officials say it’s a partnership that’s worked well.
Another mass vaccination clinic is scheduled for March 19 from noon to 5 p.m. at Stearns where 300 vaccinations are planned and one on April 3 that will provide the second shot for the more than 700 citizens who received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on March 6.
MRH Marketing Coordinator Katie Mackin said more clinics are planned as the hospital continues to work with state officials to match the expectations that all adults aged 60 and over be vaccinated now. Beginning April 1 everyone 50 and over is eligible and as of May 1 all adults will be eligible for vaccination.
“MRH will be vaccinating approximately 600 local residents this week – 300 second doses and 300 first doses,” said MRH CEO Bob Peterson, D. Sc., FACHE. “Every single shot breeds safety for the region. The more we vaccinate, the safer the community gets and the faster we can get back to some normalcy. It is hoped that the statewide vaccination supply will begin to increase over the next couple of weeks and increase our ability to reach more area residents. The president has set a target of May 1st for all U.S. residents to be eligible for the vaccine – MRH is up for it and the only thing slowing us down is the supply of vaccine!”
The public is reminded that the hospital doesn’t have any control over the number of doses or the kind of vaccine that’s sent to it. It does make it hard to plan, but Mackin said staff are working extra to make this work and appreciate the patience of everyone.