Lisa Caswell, director of pharmacy at Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, draws the hospital’s first dose of the Moderna vaccine Dec. 23. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

SKOWHEGAN — The pharmacy department at Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan is preparing for the arrival of the Moderna vaccine for those included in the next phase of the state’s vaccination plan.

Lisa Caswell, the hospital’s director of pharmacy, said Thursday she was not yet sure how many doses the hospital will receive to begin Phase 1B of vaccine distribution, which includes residents 70 or older. She anticipated more information will be available by the end of the week.

She added that medical providers in Phase 1A are continuing to receive the second dose of the vaccine. About half of the providers have received it so far.

In the coming weeks, up to 700 people will have been inoculated. The next phase of the vaccinations includes those 70 or older, adults with high-risk medical conditions and certain front-line workers.

Vaccine distribution at Redington-Fairview began Dec. 23, when pharmacists, nurses and staff from the medical offices were able to receive the hospital’s first doses.

The vaccine was developed by Moderna Inc. and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a week after states received their first shipments of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine. The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose of the same vaccine at least 28 days after the initial dose.

The first shipment of the drug in the first phase included 500 doses. Redington-Fairview also offered the vaccine to other health care employees in the community, including dentists and mental health workers, according to Caswell.

Earlier this week, Northern Light Inland Hospital of Waterville held its first community vaccination clinic at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, where 92 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered to health care workers and those 70 or older.

Until officials at Redington-Fairview General Hospital know how many doses of vaccine will be available, appointments will not be scheduled, although patients can preregister at the hospital’s website or by telephone. When the vaccine is available, Caswell said, the hospital will contact patient who have preregistered to set up the appointment.

“As long as we have their name, date of birth and phone number, we can reach out when it’s their turn for the next phase,” Caswell said. “We’ll go through the list, make sure they’re in that category and then contact them for an appointment. We’re not going to set up appointments until we know what we’re getting for vaccine.”

Caswell said she had received many calls and emails from community members with questions about the vaccine, including when it will be available.

Caswell, who received the second dose of the vaccine Thursday afternoon, said inoculations have continued to run smoothly a month after they began.

“It is really nice to have the second dose in your arm,” Caswell said. “It’s satisfying. I hope everyone will get to experience it.”

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