Vaccine Clinics Now Open to Those Age 50 and Older
Following the revised timeline announce by the state last week, AR Gould Hospital will begin offering COVID vaccine doses to those age 50 and older at their Community Vaccine Clinic this Friday, March 26. The hospital opened 1,400 slots for first doses on Friday.
“Our clinic today, March 23, was already set for about 800 second dose shots. With that in mind, Friday marks our first chance to offer shots to this younger age group,” said Jay Reynolds, MD, senior medical executive at the hospital. “We were able to expand the clinic slots in order to accommodate as many people as possible.”
In addition to this Friday’s clinic, people can also currently register for spots in clinics next Tuesday, March 30, and Friday, April 2. Both of those clinics are also expected to serve about 1400 people; however, this will be a combination of those getting their first dose of vaccine and those who will be getting their second dose.
Clinics are now open for individuals age 50 or older, workers from schools or licensed day care centers, and healthcare workers. Individuals can register through Northern Light Health’s online registration tool, covid.northernlighthealth.org. The Aroostook Agency on Aging continues to be a resource to assist those age 60 and older in signing up for a clinic; seniors can call 1-800-439-1789 for help. The hospital is now also partnering with the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) to provide similar assistance for those under age 60. Individuals can call 764-3721 to have someone from ACAP help them through the process. Both organizations also offer resources to those needing a vaccine, including transportation to and from the clinic, which is held at Northern Maine Community College.
“We are thrilled to have this kind of support for community members,” said Dr. Reynolds. “Thanks to the help of these two organizations, along with all of those who have stepped up to volunteer at the clinics, we are able to safely and efficiently get as many people vaccinated as possible each week.”
Dr. Reynolds would also like to address some of the regular questions they are getting regarding the vaccine and the AR Gould clinic.
Is it safe to be vaccinated?
“The short answer is yes. However, I encourage anyone who is unsure about getting vaccinated to talk with their primary care provider to address specific concerns and questions.”
Does it matter where I get vaccinated?
“The sooner you can get vaccinated, the better. With that in mind, the place that has the earliest availability is your best bet. We are all in this together. The goal of all the hospitals and pharmacies that are giving vaccines is to get people vaccinated as soon as possible. Please don’t wait to be called; be proactive and find a place with openings.”
Will the vaccine cost me money?
“No. The vaccine itself is provided at no cost. However, we do bill insurance providers a small fee to cover the cost of providing the clinic. Individuals will not be billed for any copay or deductible, and those without insurance will not be billed at all. We don’t want cost to be a barrier for anyone getting a vaccine.”
For answers to more questions regarding the COVID vaccine, visit the Northern Light Health (www.northernlighthealth.org) or Maine CDC (www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc) websites.