The Augusta Civic Center has been used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, accommodating 750 to 1,000 people a day in recent weeks. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — MaineGeneral Health is eyeing expanded hours for its Augusta Civic Center coronavirus vaccination clinic as vaccine supplies grow.

Kennebec County Emergency Management Director Sean Goodwin said the clinic cannot take up more area inside the Augusta Civic Center because the state Legislature is in session in the auditorium now. Goodwin said the only way to get more shots out to residents is to expand hours.

“The Civic Center staff can handle it, but the vaccination site cannot get any bigger,” he said. “They can expand the shots being given because they’re going to extend their hours.”

MaineGeneral Health spokesperson Joy McKenna said the Legislature’s presence in the Augusta Civic Center “is not an impediment in any way to our operations,” but said the clinic could open more blocks of time to account for more vaccinations.

McKenna declined to say what the vaccine clinic hours of operation are, saying only that the hours “vary week to week based on the number of vaccine (shots) we have available,” and the clinic has several four-hour blocks throughout the week that MaineGeneral opens based upon vaccine availability.

“We don’t post the hours as the clinics are by appointment only and due to COVID-19 social distancing safety protocols we don’t want people coming to the Augusta Civic Center unless they have an appointment,” she said.

McKenna said all of the vaccine supply the clinic had last week — 2,583 doses — was administered. McKenna added that the clinic has more than 3,000 appointments scheduled for this week, and 4,500 doses are expected for next week.

“All of these clinics can happen whether the Legislature is there or not,” she said, adding that the clinic continues “to get an increased amount of vaccine.”

In total, MaineGeneral Health has provided more than 10,000 vaccinations to community members, with 8,400 being at the Augusta Civic Center clinic.

Vaccinations are currently available for residents age 60 and older, educators from preK-12 as well as Head Start, Early Head Start and licensed child care providers, and 1A community health workers.

Meanwhile, 180 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available at a clinic hosted by the Augusta Fire Department on Saturday at Cony High School. Sign-ups for this clinic, which is not affiliated with the Augusta Civic Center clinic, are no longer available.

According to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control, 524,214 doses of vaccine have been administered statewide, with 330,123 being the first dose and 194,091 being the final dose. In Kennebec County, 39,251 doses have been administered with 25,372 being the first dose and 13,879 being the final dose.

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