Feb. 15—LEWISTON — More than 75 COVID-19 vaccination sites are now open across the state, up from 18 sites open a month ago, and just over 40% of Mainers 70 and older have now gotten a vaccine.
Still, the wait continues for many.
Twenty-three Wal-Mart pharmacies, including those in Auburn, Brunswick, Farmington, Mexico and Oxford, are expected to receive about 200 doses each this week. However, Wal-Mart's vaccine website on Monday showed no available appointments for this week yet at any of those stores.
St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston is planning a public, by-appointment-only vaccination clinic Wednesday, but the Lewiston hospital will receive just 200 doses this week, plus 100 doses reserved for the B Street Health Center in Lewiston. That's a fraction of the 975 doses it got earlier this month.
The number of doses available has fluctuated since vaccinations began. Hospitals and other sites rely on the state for their doses, and the state relies on the federal government.
This week, Maine is getting about 22,000 doses, which could be supplemented by 4,000 to 5,000 Wal-Mart doses, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the state allows people 70 and older to get the shot, St. Mary's continues to reserve its appointments for people 80 and older because its doses are so limited. It is unclear when that will change — it depends on the number of doses the hospital gets.
Hospital staff continue to reach out to those people who qualify and who are already St. Mary's patients. The general public can fill out a form on the hospital's website to seek an appointment. Once the appointments are filled, the form is removed until new slots are available.
St. Mary's last had a clinic Friday. At that clinic, some 400 people were vaccinated, but half a dozen to a dozen didn't show for their appointments. Those doses were not wasted at St. Mary's, but no-shows can be a problem for clinics.
"If they can call and let us know they can't make it for some reason, if they've got an appointment, that would be terrific. Then we can get somebody else in," St. Mary's spokesman Stephen Costello said.
Central Maine Healthcare spokeswoman Ann Kim said she could provide no updates on that health system's vaccine program Monday. The system, with hospitals in Lewiston, Bridgton and Rumford, has offered a number of public clinics and has been directing people to its website for more information.
About 80,500 Maine seniors have gotten the vaccine statewide. About 112,500 are still waiting.