By Shelley Farrington Lincoln News • October 28, 2021
MILLINOCKET – The boosters are coming the boosters are coming – that is the news from Millinocket Regional Hospital Infection Preventionist Todd Phillips, RN, BSN, MPH. Phillips, who has been coordinating MRH’s COVID-19 pandemic response including vaccination, said he is working with local school officials to host vaccination booster clinics in the months of November and December.
In addition, he is anticipating being able to offer initial vaccination clinics for parents with children aged 5-11 in November as well.
Unlike previous clinics these will be “drop in” with no appointments and no calls from MRH setting up times. Phillips said he is working with school administrations to again host the clinics at the local schools and he is grateful for the continued cooperation.
The first clinic will be Thursday, Nov. 4 from 3-6 p.m. in the Stearns High School Gym. There will be clinics the next two Thursdays – Nov. 11 and 18 (no clinic on Thanksgiving) and after that the clinics will move to the Stearns Junior High gym to avoid basketball conflicts.
Making the clinics as accessible and easy to use as possible is the goal said MRH Director of Marketing Katie Mackin. She said there are no appointments individuals are asked to drop in and staff will “get you in and out in no time.”
Unlike the previous clinics there won’t be any registration or phone calls from MRH staff.
The booster shot will be Moderna and can be given to anyone regardless of whether they got an original Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson vaccination. Phillips said currently booster shots are not mandatory just highly recommended. He said individuals who are 65 years or older, are 18 years or older who have underlying health conditions, 18 years or older who live in long term care settings and 18 and over who work or live in high-risk settings.
Phillips said priority will be given to healthcare workers, police, fire EMS and pharmacy workers as well as teachers. Individuals who received a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine must wait six months before getting a booster while those who received the J&J vaccine must have had their first shot at least two months ago. You are asked to bring your vaccination card with you if you have it.
Phillips said he would recommend that even patients who have been vaccinated and contracted COVID should get a booster.
Phillips said similar booster clinics will be held every Friday starting Nov. 5 from 3-6 p.m. at the Patten Fire Department. Again there is no appointment needed and patients will be “in and out quickly.”
Phillips said the booster dosage is half of the original vaccination amount but can still cause side effects. He said those who have received a booster describe similar side effects as before but to a lesser degree and for a shorter period of time.
Plans for vaccination clinics for elementary students are underway as well. With the FDA approval for vaccines for kids 5-11 expected in early November, Phillips said he’s working with school administrators to bring shots to a school in each town. He said he’s ordered vaccine to have it here in anticipation of the approval. Tentative clinics are schedule for Nov. 19 at each school – Granite Street School, Opal Myrick Elementary and Medway Middle School. Another one at Schenck High School on Nov. 23 is also being planned.
“We are excited to be able to provide this next layer of protection to you and your family,” Phillips said.