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Northern Light adds COVID-19 vaccination hotline

Northern Light Health’s new COVID-19 vaccination hotline for community members 70 and over is 204-8551.
Northern Light adds hotline
Northern Light adds hotline(WABI)
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:08 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The trials and tribulations of vaccinating people in Maine continue.

TV5 spoke with Northern Light Health officials today about issues with this weekend’s clinic and a big change for those struggling to sign up online.

“Due to computer errors, we had 200 individuals who were extra who were scheduled for the 9 AM appointment slot,” explained Dr. James Jarvis on Monday.

He said there was coronavirus vaccine for the early arrivals on Saturday, but the added people caused a long line as Eastern Maine Medical Center’s 25 vaccinators worked their way through everybody.

Heavy traffic with people looking to sign up brought Northern Light’s website down on Monday morning.

Jarvis said those issues had been addressed and hopefully corrected and sign up window for another clinic opened Monday afternoon.

Northern Light also announced the addition of a vaccine hotline.

“We do recommend that people try to do it online as opposed to over the phone,” said Jarvis. “It’s a little bit easier and faster if you do it online than over the phone, but for those that are challenged there, we certainly understand that and will have our phone lines open.”

We asked if creating more sign up slots for people to form an ongoing list would be a way to ease frustrations for those who miss out on getting into the weekly spots.

“We have discussed doing that. Part of our problem continues to be not knowing if we’re going to be able to have the clinic open, to address that peoples’ expectation was that, oh, I must be next week,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get a vaccine, and then we had to postpone that clinic.”

He says the shift in the state’s vaccination plan to expand to those over 70 has added more to their plates along with a lack of clarity on what’s coming.

“That’s been a problem for us,” said Jarvis. “We can’t plan 3-4 weeks in advance because we are literally finding out on Friday what we are going to have to administer on Monday and Tuesday. That becomes challenging for us. Unfortunately, we’re still not entirely clear what actual stock pile is out there, and that’s concerning to us as the ones who are giving the vaccine.”

Hospitals across the nation now wait to hear from the Biden Administration as to what that stock pile may consist of.

“I think they are still learning what it is that they inherited from the prior administration, and so unfortunately, I think we still are unclear about a lot of details,” he said.

Northern Light Health’s new COVID-19 vaccination hotline for community members 70 and over is 204-8551.

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