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Mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit moves to Portland in effort to vaccinate younger Mainers

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 6:45 AM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - FEMA’s mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit is in Portland through this weekend as it winds down its work in Maine.

The vaccination unit is located behind Rising Tide Brewery and is offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day through Sunday. No appointment is needed.

The hope is younger people will stop by and get vaccinated.

“This community has a big density population, and a lot of people will be able to access the clinic without an appointment,” FEMA communications specialist Patrick Boland said. “We’re looking forward to helping this community in a big way.”

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah visited the mobile unit Thursday afternoon.

Shah said new data on hospitalizations in the state is showing how important it is for people to get vaccinated.

“A large fraction of individuals who are hospitalized with COVID, for COVID, tend to be unvaccinated. Indeed, as of right now, about 80% of the people in Maine we have data for who are currently in the hospital, 80% of them are unvaccinated,” Shah said.

Shah said people who are currently hospitalized are younger, sicker and are staying in the hospital longer.

“Younger Mainers may kind of brush off some of the symptoms a little sooner. I think we’ve all experienced that, and as a result, when they end up really getting hit with COVID, they tend to be sicker, and as a result of that, they end up landing in the hospital in the ICU and sometimes even on breathing tubes even more frequently,” Shah said.

After the mobile unit wraps up in Portland, it will head to its final destination, Old Orchard Beach, where it will offer vaccinations Tuesday through Friday of next week.

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