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Walk-in COVID-19 vax appointments coming in Maine?

State officials work to break barriers to get shots in arms.
Next step to get shots in arms?
Next step to get shots in arms?
Published: Apr. 18, 2021 at 2:14 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine’s overall coronavirus vaccination numbers continue to climb.

However, barriers remain for those willing to get the shot, but for a variety of reasons cannot.

TV5 has more on how state officials are targeting that population.

“The weekend appointments are really important,” explained the head of the Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah. “I’ve also spoken with sites like drive-through locations to talk about pre-work hours and after work hours as well with the same idea.”

The vast majority of the state’s appointments for the coronavirus vaccine take place during what would be classified as normal work hours. That doesn’t work for everyone.

“Sometimes we think of vaccination and we use words like hesitancy to suggest that folks don’t wish to be vaccinated,” Shah said. “We don’t often acknowledge there are a lot of folks who wish to be vaccinated but may not have the wherewithal to make it happen for their life because of work requirements, travel requirements. Other challenges like IT and accessing the Internet. Early on we were concerned about that we’ve taken direct steps to address each of those.”

The state has done things like offering rides to and from appointments and set up a phone line for those unable to sign up online.

“Providing this kind of temporary support for people pays off in the long run because we are keeping community safe, keeping us family safe and really helping people get back on their feet,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew.

Dr. Nirav Shah says that the Maine CDC is considering another way to work with those struggling to find the time to get the shot.

“Preliminary discussions about having unscheduled hours,” he explained. “Walk up hours essentially it’s not going to be for everyone. It’s not going to be everywhere, there might be some locations in the state where there is a higher degree of walk up ability and we’re having some degree of unscheduled hours if that makes it that much easier to get vaccinated.”

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