BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — More than 150 people received vaccinations for COVID-19 in one of the state's first drive-thru clinics, officials said.
A Brunswick nonprofit that provides services for adults with intellectual disabilities vaccinated about 70 clients and 90 caregivers on Monday outside its headquarters. Guardian Pharmacy of Maine staffed the clinic with four pharmacists.
The clinic at the Independence Association was the first drive-thru COVID-19 clinic with vaccine provided by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Portland Press Herald reported. The Togas VA Medical Center in Augusta has been holding weekly, appointment-only drive-thru clinics since Jan. 6, the newspaper reported.
Most of the caregivers and their clients in Brunswick opted to sit in their vehicles with the windows rolled down to receive the first of two Moderna shots.
“We waited patiently for two hours and we’re both glad that we got the vaccine,” said Robert Hipp, who drove a client to be vaccinated. “It was cold and it was windy, but it was good to finally get vaccinated.”
In other pandemic-related news:
The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 3.21%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 5.85% on Jan. 11 to 3.21% on Jan. 25.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 37,000 cases of the virus and 558 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Maine's public university system has expanded its coronavirus wastewater monitoring program through the end of the spring semester.
The University of Maine System said it's adding new sample collection sites and increasing sampling and testing frequency. The university system uses the program to track for the presence of the virus on its campuses and in surrounding areas.
The system said samples will be collected twice weekly at campuses around the state. The program will also be used to analyze samples from two municipal wastewater facilities and the University of New England in Biddeford, the system said.
University of Maine System officials said the system began conducting wastewater surveillance in August. Chancellor Dannel Malloy said the expansion of testing “reflects the breadth of our public health commitment and is a key component of our multifaceted approach to identifying and containing COVID-19 on campuses and in Maine communities.”
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Nirav Shah said the state is aware of scammers who are using false promises of coronavirus vaccines as a pretense for fraud.
The state has also learned of scammers who call residents claiming to be contact tracers, Shah said. He said the attorney general's office has been notified about the scams.
Shah said anyone receiving a suspicious phone call that asks for private information, such as a Social Security number, should exercise skepticism. He said call recipients should ask for the caller's identification number and make sure their phone number is from a reputable source like a state agency or hospital.
“There are individuals who will take advantage of concern and anxiety and fear and use them to perpetrate scams,” Shah said.
This story has been updated to correct that the drive-thru vaccination clinic in Brunswick is not the state's first. It is one of the first drive-thru clinics in Maine, but not the first.