Growing Concerns Over Folks Getting COVID-19 Vaccine Across County Lines

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 7:04 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2021 at 7:09 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - With vaccinations underway across the state and here in the county, there is growing concern over folks crossing county lines to receive a vaccine.

The state of Maine is in the process of vaccinating folks 70 and older. Here in the County at the vaccination clinic held by AR Gould Hospital, some folks receiving vaccines are not from Aroostook County.

“The large health systems in our agreement with the state are open to anyone that’s a resident of the state of Maine without restriction, other than the restriction of whether you’re a health care worker, first, responder, essential worker, or over the age of 70 has the ability to book at any one of our sites,” Dr. James Jarvis said.

According to Dr. James Jarvis of Northern Light Health, there is concern surrounding this issue.

“It really is our concern as to whether or not you’ll be able to get your second dose in a timely fashion. One of the things that we have set up is that you don’t schedule your second dose through Northern Light Health,” Dr. Jarvis said. “As you schedule your first dose, we automatically schedule you for your second dose, so that’s good news. But it does mean that if somebody gets their first dose at one location, but then wants to get the second dose at another location they’d have to actually register for a first dose and that will actually take a vaccine away from some other individual.”

Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC says that this concern has been brought to their attention as well.

“I think the way we can best approach that issue is to try to make vaccines and vaccinations available across the state. So that someone from Sanford doesn’t have to drive all the way to Fort Kent for example or there’s not a reason for them to do so because that is hardly efficient and of course it would be better if someone could be vaccinated close by,” Dr. Shah said. “But our approach right now is to remedy this concern by trying to offer vaccines and vaccinations close to where folks are so that, that sort of cross county travel doesn’t need to be something that happens.”

Dr. Jarvis adds as Maine awaits more vaccines; he asks folks to be patient.

“But for those that live closer to some of our more urban centers where we are setting up these large-scale vaccination and even smaller scale vaccination clinics, really patience is what we’re asking,” Dr. Jarvis adds. “Wait until there is an opening at the location near you and then we can get you in in a safe fashion and know that we can get you for your second dose in a safe fashion.”

To sign up for an appointment with Northern Light Health, you can visit their website. The vaccination website is updated on Monday’s at 2 pm.

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