Maine is on pace this week for its highest rate of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per day since late May.

From Sunday through Thursday, the state delivered an average of 6,082 doses per day, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a 58 percent increase over the previous week’s average of 3,857 doses. More than 8,000 doses were given on Tuesday alone.

Some of the increase is attributable to booster doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which have now been recommended for tens of thousands of Mainers. But Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said this week that roughly two thirds of recent doses have been given to people who had not yet been fully vaccinated.

The increase comes as Maine continues to see high levels of virus transmission, and high rates of hospitalization and death. Health officials reported 630 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and three more people died with the virus.

The seven-day daily case average has fluctuated somewhat but has remained stubbornly high – at or above 450 cases – for all but a few days over the last month. Across the country, meanwhile, cases have been steadily declining, from an average of 113,003 a month ago to 68,792 cases now, a 39 percent drop. Some of that is attributable to testing volume, which has dropped off dramatically in many states, especially in the South.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 103,671 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,163 peopled have died with the virus, according to CDC data. Both remain among the lowest per capita of any state.


Hospitalizations dropped below 200 on Friday for the first time in a week. Of the 198 people in the hospital with COVID-19, 78 are in critical care and 38 are on ventilators. The number of patients on ventilators is the most since Sept. 22.

Hospitalizations in Maine remain at a sustained high level even as they have come down nationally. According to the U.S. CDC, the average number of people in the hospital is about 45,500, which is down 11 percent over the previous week and down 50 percent since early September during the height of the delta variant surge.

Health care systems in Maine have been forced to delay certain surgical procedures due to bed shortages, and some hospitals are holding patients who are medically cleared but don’t have a long-term care facility to move into because of staffing shortages.

Asked why he thought vaccinations have been picking up recently, Shah said this week that it’s likely a combination of things, including a recognition for some that the delta variant isn’t going away, as well as current and future vaccine mandates from employers.

Friday marked the deadline for health care workers to get vaccinated under a statewide mandate and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal from health care workers in Maine, clearing the way for the mandate to take effect. Those who have not provided proof of vaccination face termination and state officials will begin monitoring compliance through random audits and complaint-based investigations.

Maine is in the top five among states with the highest vaccination rates. All of them are in New England.


Overall, Maine has given 927,483 final doses of vaccine, which accounts for 69 percent of all residents and 78.3 percent of those 12 and older who are currently eligible. As early as next week, children 5 to 11 could be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. There are roughly 80,000 children in that age range.

In addition to final doses, Maine has administered 83,478 booster doses, which are now recommended for anyone 65 and older, individuals who are immunocompromised, and anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

As has been the case for many weeks, there appears to be a correlation between low vaccination rates and counties that have high transmission rates.

Over the last 28 days, Somerset County has the highest rate of COVID-19 – 165 cases per 10,000 people. It also has the state’s lowest rate of vaccination, 57.5 percent. Similarly, Franklin County has a case rate of 154 per 10,000 people over the last 28 days, which ranks second, and its vaccination rate of 59.3 percent is third lowest.

Conversely, the two counties with the lowest transmission per capita over the last 28 days – Cumberland and Lincoln – are the two counties with the highest rates of vaccination.

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