SKOWHEGAN — Four COVID-19 vaccination clinics hosted by a local hospital at the recently concluded Skowhegan State Fair resulted in another 24 Mainers being inoculated.

Barbara Demchak, director of the emergency medical services, or EMS, department at Redington-Fairview General Hospital, said Monday two dozen people utilized the clinics during the fair, with the most of those people coming last Friday when 13 were inoculated.

“That may seem like a small number, but that’s 24 more people that got vaccinated,” Demchak said Monday.

More than 150,000 people were expected to attend the fair during its 10-day run, which ended Saturday.

Demchak said all but one of those who received the COVID-19 vaccine opted for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the other patient received the two-dose Moderna vaccine.

Those receiving vaccines reflected “a wide representation of Maine counties” and a broad range of people. She added about four of the 24 people were residents of Somerset County, which continues to have the lowest vaccination rate in Maine.

“We hit a very broad group,” Demchak said. “We didn’t know what to expect, and it was hard to know what to plan for.”

This group included four carnival workers, five college students and a college employee, all of whom were under mandates to get vaccinated, Demchak said.

“They kind of took it as an easy way to get their required vaccinations,” she said.

News of the vaccines administered during the fair came as Maine hospitalizations jumped over the weekend from 98 on Friday to 123 on Monday, including 61 who are in critical care beds and 25 on ventilators.

On Saturday, the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention reported another 205 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths, continuing a recent surge in infections and hospitalizations throughout the state.

Since the start of the pandemic, state CDC data as of Monday showed 2,469 cases of COVID-19, 35 deaths and 91 hospitalizations in Somerset County. The numbers represented an increase of 113 cases, an additional death and 8 hospitalizations since the Aug, 5 report.

The data also showed about 56% of Somerset County’s population had been fully vaccinated, compared with 70.44% of the state’s population. Somerset County remained the lowest vaccinated in Maine.

A vaccination clinic was not planned initially for the Skowhegan State Fair, but after the hospital’s EMS department offered to host the clinics, arrangements were made for four clinics during the event.

“We’re at the fair anyway and we looked at vaccine clinics as an opportunity,” Demchak said. “There are events at the fair every day that requires an EMS presence, and we thought, ‘Well, we’ll maximize our time there.'”

Demchak said the hospital’s EMS department has continued its efforts to increase vaccinations, including inoculating almost everyone involved in public safety throughout the county. This has included employees at the Emergency Operations Center at the Somerset Communications Center and Border Patrol and Protection officers in Jackman.

Additionally, the EMS department has participated in public vaccination clinics in Bingham and has been conducting home visits, by referral, for those who are homebound.

Through the hospital’s pharmacy department, walk-in clinics are also offered at Redington-Fairview from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Thursday. Those who are at least 18 years old can show up without an appointment and choose between the two-dose Moderna vaccine or the one-shot option from J&J.

Other fairs in the state have also looked at clinic offerings. Earlier this month, the Bangor State Fair offered the Pfizer and J&J vaccines.

In an announcement last week, the Maine CDC reported a clinic would be offered at the upcoming Union Fair, scheduled for this Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The clinic is free, with no appointment necessary. Those who receive the vaccine will be given a free pass to the fair.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.