Pop-up vaccine clinic held in Dover-Foxcroft and Dexter

Public health officials and pharmacists across Maine are doing their best to meet demand.
As Maine battles the omicron surge, many community groups and pharmacies are coming together to...
As Maine battles the omicron surge, many community groups and pharmacies are coming together to offer pop-up vaccination clinics.(WABI)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:18 PM EST
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DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine (WABI) - Piscataquis County is one the least vaccinated counties in Maine.

According to the Maine CDC, 60.03% of residents are fully vaccinated, with more than 24,000 doses administered.

That’s out of a population of more than 16,000 people.

“The numbers are overwhelming, and our EMS is really overwhelmed right now,” said Director of Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency, Jaeme Duggan.

As the state deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases, demand is high for tests and booster shots.

Vaccination appointments are hard to come by in many communities, especially in rural areas.

On Wednesday, Community Pharmacies partnered with Maine Emergency Management and Helping Hands to administer shots.

Two pop-clinics were held, one in Dover-Foxcroft, another in Dexter.

More than 100 shots were administered between the two.

Some of them were first doses.

“It’s nice that people are waking up and realizing that getting a vaccination is very important to fight this disease,” said Joe Bruno, President & CEO of Community Pharmacies.

Bruno made the two and a half hour drive from Raymond to administer vaccines, solo.

Since January 2021, he’s traveled hundreds of miles across Maine, administering thousands of vaccines.

“I’ll go anywhere. If I’m helping someone, it makes me feel good and makes my day,” he said.

Many residents have found it challenging to find a pharmacy that will administer boosters.

Derrick Buschmann says he was due for his booster this month.

“I couldn’t do that through Walgreens or the Osco Pharmacy in town until late January. So, having the clinic come in was a nice help,” he said.

The director of Piscataquis County Emergency Management says she’s seeing the effects the virus is having on hospitals and is concerned for the amount of cases coming from unvaccinated individuals. They’re doing their best to educate, too.

“There’s still a lot of conspiracy theories about the vaccine, and because we’re a rural county, it’s hard to get through that and to educate people that being vaccinated is really the safest thing,” Duggan said. “So, I think for the first timers, it’s really hard to get the truth and avoid the false news and some of the propaganda around it.”

The goal is to host another pop-up clinic in the future.

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