Documents to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine at the Augusta Civic Center. The site was not open Thursday morning. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — While mass vaccination sites in other parts of Maine are scheduled to shut down this month, the vaccination site at the Augusta Civic Center is expected to remain open through June for scheduled and walk-in appointments.

Alex Syndor, MaineGeneral Health’s chief strategy officer, said Thursday that while COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be administered at the Civic Center through next month, hospital officials are planning to shift to administering vaccinations in other locations, such as primary care and home health care settings.

At the same time, patients admitted to MaineGeneral Medical Center are receiving vaccines, and hospital officials plan to make vaccines available to those treated at the emergency room.

It was announced this week the vaccination site at Scarborough Downs would close Thursday, and the site at Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center would close May 27, as health care officials shift their focus to smaller settings, such as pharmacies, pop-up clinics and worksite clinics for some of the region’s larger employers.

These changes come as nearly half of the state’s 1.3 million residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and more than half have received the first of two doses.

“We’ve seen the same kind of decline in demand for the vaccine that other providers have seen,” Syndor said, ” but we still have a sufficient flow of patients coming through to keep it open.”


The COVID-19 vaccination site at the Augusta Civic Center, which was not open Thursday morning, is expected to maintain its regular hours through June. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The clinic at the Civic Center launched Feb. 17. Since then, more than 41,000 doses of vaccine have been administered there, with demand peaking in the third week of March.

“We were giving around 6,000 doses that week — for a couple of weeks,” Syndor said, noting that by mid-April, 3,000 doses a week were being administered.

As demand has shifted, the clinic has been able to adapt, with longer hours and more space during greater demand, and shorter hours and fewer days as demand has dropped off.

“The important thing is being available when people aren’t working and on weekends,” Syndor said.

This week, of the 1,700 doses, about 350 will be the first of two shots, he said, and people will have to return for their second shots in three or four weeks.

The clinic is now offering both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with walk-ins being given Moderna for now.

Nicole McSweeney, chief marketing officer for MaineGeneral, said when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration opened eligibility earlier this month for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to those 12 or older, officials knew there would be an increase in people wanting to get that one, so it was not available for walk-in clinics.

Syndor said it is important people who have not been inoculated talk to their health care providers about the vaccine.

“We’re in that stage where people who are on the fence about whether or not they should get the vaccine are at that point of decision-making,” he said. “They should talk to someone and get the answers they need.”

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