Maine health officials said Tuesday that 90,000 people who signed up for the state’s long-awaited coronavirus vaccine registry system should not wait for it to notify them of appointments two weeks after it was launched with few providers using it.
The idea for the system was to create a waiting list for people who may have been vaccinated through providers who do not have a robust planning system. Purchase forms for the system indicate that Maine authorized $ 4.4 million on call center services to help with pre-registration and nearly $ 800,000 on a scheduling service.
But on Tuesday, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center Director Nirav Shah named only two places that use the civil service now ̵
Instead, Maine is pretty much starting to reach out to people who signed up for the site Wednesday to remind them where to get vaccinated. It’s the day the state will open to anyone over the age of 16, as new cases rose and appointments were delayed after people over the age of 50 were included. Hospitals saw great interest in agreements after Gov. Janet Mills announced the change Thursday.
Shah said people should not wait because Maine has far more vaccines and clinics than expected when the system was devised. He said the state will eventually send people who have signed up a code for sites that may be close to them, but he did not have a timeline.
“We want to make sure they get a shot as soon as possible,” he said.
He said the Sanford Mass Vaccination Clinic may be picking up the service, saying the state has heard from smaller groups who are also interested in doing clinics. Maine’s emergency management services and a new, federally supported system of mobile clinics starting in Oxford next week and moving to other cities through mid-June may also be able to use the system.
As of Tuesday, appointments in Oxford were only available by calling Maine’s community vaccination line at 1-888-445-4111. Bangor-based Northern Light Health offered deals through next week at locations including Bangor, Presque Isle and Dover-Foxcroft, while Walgreens offered deals for younger people in certain areas of the state. Hannaford and Walmart were set to open deals for them on Wednesday.