By Shelley Farrington Lincoln News • April 15, 2021
MILLINOCKET – Part of Millinocket Regional Hospital’s mission during the COVID-19 pandemic is to educate the public on anything to do with the vaccine. Recently the state of Maine reduced the age of vaccine eligibility to 16 years and up and MRH Infection Preventionist Todd Phillips, RN, BSN, MPH, said even though MRH continues to offer clinics, citizens aged 16-18 will be directed to call the Maine CDC vaccination reservation line at 888-445-4111 or by going online to covid.northernlighthealth.org/publicvaccine
At this time the only vaccine approved for children aged 16-18 is the Pfizer vaccine currently offered locally by Northern Light Health. The Pfizer vaccine requires storage in ultra-cold temperatures which is something MRH is not equipped for.
Phillips said he’d like to put a shot in the arm of everyone who walks into the clinic but he can’t and must advise the children and their parents and guardians to make an appointment online with Northern Light Health.
“It’s an online registration and people need to be patient as there are a lot of people trying to make appointments,” Phillips said. “At this point it’s the only option we have to offer citizens in that age group.”
Phillips was quick to add that individuals aged 18 and up can still get vaccinated through MRH and its upcoming clinics. To register go to www.mrehme.org/getvax or call the hospital at 723-7225.
Individuals who need to register someone 16 to 18 years can search the Northern Light Health Public Vaccination public portal. The public portal provides vaccination appointments at various collaborating clinics in the region. Those seeking to register can choose where they want to go but when registering a 16-18 year old it must be a Pfizer vaccination which indicated when a location is selected.
New appointments are opened every Monday and Wednesday at 2 p.m. Because of increased vaccination availability there can be a wait upon visiting the portal but wait times appear to move quickly.
The child’s insurance information will be needed and a consent form needs to be filled out and returned with the child to the vaccination location at the time of the appointment.
If at any time the guidelines change and another vaccine is approved for the younger age group MRH will be ready to provide vaccination services to this population, Phillips said.
MRH continues its vaccination mission by offering a “second dose” Moderna clinic on April 16 to 350 citizens and another second dose clinic on April 24 for another 216 more.