PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Residents of long-term care facilities in Maine have begun receiving the new coronavirus vaccine in a major step toward broader vaccination of the general public. The roll-out began on Monday.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said more than 4,600 people have been administered the vaccine in the state. However, the state has focused on front-line health care workers until now.

Maine is perennially among the states with the highest median age, and public health authorities have said the effort to vaccinate nursing home residents is a key piece of the state’s fight against the virus.

Maine CDC has reported more than 19,000 cases of the virus in the state since the pandemic began.

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