Maine’s Mobile Vaccination Unit Ends Mission After Delivering More Than 10,000 COVID-19 Vaccinations
2,500-mile route ends in Old Orchard Beach
Augusta, ME (STL.News) After administering more than 10,000 vaccinations across 12 communities in Maine since its launch on April 12, the Maine Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) will end its mission today, Friday, June 18, 2021, in Old Orchard Beach.
The MVU, a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of Maine, provided free COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment or on a drop-in basis to adults in Maine who wanted one. At the time of the MVU’s launch in April, Maine was the second state in New England to host a mobile vaccination unit.
“As a result of the Mobile Vaccination Unit, thousands of people across Maine are now protected against COVID-19,” said Governor Janet Mills. “We thank FEMA for their partnership in this groundbreaking effort as we continue to make vaccination convenient and accessible to get shots into the arms of as many Maine people as possible.”
“We were eager to have the opportunity working with the State of Maine to provide this Mobile Vaccination Unit, allowing people in Maine the opportunity to get vaccinated through this effort,” said Acting Region 1 Administrator and Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA Paul Ford.
“Bringing vaccines to rural and underserved areas through the MVU has helped Maine to become a leader in the COVID-19 vaccination effort,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “We express our gratitude to FEMA for their partnership and to the thousands of Maine people who rolled up their sleeves at the MVU to do their part to protect themselves and their communities.”
The Mills Administration requested FEMA’s support with Maine’s vaccination efforts after the Biden Administration committed to deploying Federal resources to assist states with getting shots into arms. The State and FEMA ultimately pursued a mobile vaccination unit in order to achieve two primary goals: 1) to reach rural and under-served communities, and 2) to complement large- and small-scale vaccination clinics already underway.
The MVU focused its visits primarily on hard-to-reach and rural areas of the state determined by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Emergency Management Agency, and FEMA in part based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, which utilizes 15 U.S. Census variables to help local officials identify communities that may need support before, during, or after disasters.
The mobile unit launched in Oxford on April 12 and went on to visit Windham, Biddeford, Fryeburg, Turner, Waterville, Old Town, Milbridge, Calais, Madawaska, Portland, and Old Orchard Beach. It largely utilized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to maximize efficiency.
The MVU was run by staff provided by FEMA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Peace Corps – marking the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that Peace Corps for FEMA have been utilized – with support from State and local Emergency Medical Services, local health care providers and volunteers.
COVID-19 vaccinations remain widely available at community vaccination centers and local pharmacies. To find a vaccination site near you, visit the State’s vaccination website or call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111.
Maine continues to demonstrate nation-leading progress in administering vaccinations and containing the spread of COVID-19. More than 74 percent of Maine people age 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 65.8 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. CDC vaccination tracker.