Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services have announced that they will soon begin conducting community vaccination clinics. The initiative is based on recent updates from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Maine Governor Janet Mills.

The vaccines will be provided to individuals 70 and older and those with pre-existing chronic health conditions. Individual patients of Cary and Pines will be contacted by their primary care provider to establish specific appointment schedules.

Kris Doody, RN and Chief Executive Officer at Cary and Pines Health Services said that information and guidance has been very fluid given the increasing surge of COVID 19 in Aroostook County. 

“We know that there is a lot of confusing information being spread about the COVID 19 Vaccine”, said Doody who has been assisting in the vaccination of hospital staff including physicians. “We want our patients to understand that we are focused on getting as many people vaccinated as soon as possible and we will be closely following guidelines established by the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC)”. 

The community vaccination clinics will initially be held in the Chan Center at Cary Medical Center. Regen Gallagher, DO, and Chief Medical Officer at Cary said that the Chan Center has worked well for the vaccination of health care workers. 

“Based on the initial amount of vaccines we have requested the Chan Center will be an appropriate location to begin our community vaccination program”, said Gallagher who has led the hospital’s COVID 19 response. “The Chan Center allows for an efficient flow of people, room for social distancing and a place where those who have been vaccinated can be observed after getting the vaccine”.

Eventually, when the vaccination program is extended to the entire community, the Caribou Wellness Center will be used to conduct the clinic given the large response expected. The hospital is working closely with Maine CDC to acquire as much vaccine as possible. There are a number of factors in determining the state’s distribution schedule which is based on how many doses of vaccine Maine receives from Federal agencies involved in the national distribution. 

Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services have been receiving a high number of calls and inquiries on their websites in regard to COVID 19 vaccination. The public is asked to please refrain from calling their providers about the vaccine schedule since it will depend on the number of vaccines the hospital receives and that number is unknown at this time. 

“We know people are very concerned about the spread of this virus here in the County”, said Kris Doody. “We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to a vaccination process that will be efficient and convenient as possible. Our clinics will be based on the amount of vaccine we receive every week. We will continue to keep the public informed of any changes in vaccine distribution or recommended guidelines from the Maine CDC. If we all work together we will get through this very challenging time and over the next several months we will put this tragic episode behind us”. 

The hospital CEO pointed out that while the vaccine is good news and holds promise for gaining control of the virus it is absolutely critical that people continue to follow the guidelines to protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting COVID 19. The guidelines include: Wearing a mask in public or whenever social distancing is not possible, washing hands frequently, and avoiding gatherings outside your immediate household. 

For more information on COVID 19 visit CaryMedicalCenter.org, follow information on Cary Medical Center’s Facebook page @carymedicalcenter.org or the Maine Center for Disease Control website at, https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/.

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