By Shelley Farrington Lincoln News • July 22, 2021
KATAHDIN REGION – As vaccination rates continue to decline nationally, Maine still has one of the highest rates of vaccination at 68 percent who are eligible are fully vaccinated. Officials at Millinocket Regional Hospital have worked hard to reach vaccination rates of over 70 percent in the Katahdin region.
But staff know the job isn’t done and have modified their vaccination schedule to make it easy for those in the region who want to get vaccinated and are eligible, ages 18 and over, by going to MRH Walk In Care in East Millinocket.
MRH Walk-In is now offering both the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccinations. Vaccines will be given Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, however, since Moderna is a two-shot vaccine, appointments are necessary if a patient chooses that one. Appointments can be made at www.mrhme.org/getvax. There is no appointment necessary for the J & J shot, which will be available through August 7.
MRH Marketing Director Katie Mackin said the automated appointment system will show patients what appointments are available each day and “allow you to reserve an appointment by simply entering your name and email address. You’ll receive a confirmation email which will also give you instructions on how to reschedule if needed.”
She added that due to staff’s need to care for patients who have come to walk-in for help, those seeking vaccinations are asked to use the online appointment system and refrain from calling the clinic.
MRH is also offering “pop-up” clinics for businesses who may want to host one for employees. Anyone interested in doing one or learning more about it should contact MRH Infection Preventionist Todd Phillips at 723-5161.
Mackin said MRH is proud of its efforts to help vaccinate the region and as of June 28 vaccination data shows that Millinocket has a vaccination rate of 76 percent, Benedicta at 70 percent, East Millinocket at 67 percent, Mattawamkeag at 64 percent, Patten at 61 percent, Medway at 52 percent, Sherman at 50 percent and Stacyville at 46 percent.
In addition over 92 percent of MRH staff has been vaccinated which is the highest vaccination rate among hospitals in the state.
“While vaccination is not mandated and remains an individual choice,” Mackin said, “we’re so proud of the choices our staff has made to protect themselves as well as our patients and community.”