Houlton Regional surpasses 1,600 vaccinations, Pfizer vaccine on the way

3 years ago

HOULTON, Maine —  The campaign to vaccinate the residents of southern Aroostook County against COVID-19 is well underway, with additional reinforcements in the form of another FDA-approved vaccine lying in wait. 

Houlton Regional Hospital has administered at least one dose of the vaccine produced by the Massachusetts-based company Moderna to at least 1,600 people living in the southern Aroostook area.

Many of those receiving doses so far include healthcare workers, first responders and people over the age of 80, according to Houlton Regional CEO Shawn Anderson. He said 

the hospital is focusing on vaccinating those in their 70s, as well as administering second doses to those who have already had first doses. 

“It’s going extremely well,” Anderson said. “It’s a population that is extremely hungry for the vaccine, and also extremely appreciative for receiving the vaccine.” 

More good news comes from updated protocols for one of the other FDA-approved vaccines from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, with recent studies showing its vaccine could be stored at normal temperatures and that even just one shot of the two-dose vaccine was highly effective in curbing potential infection of COVID-19. 

Anderson said the hospital was working with a consortium of other Aroostook hospitals and health centers so that it could begin receiving the Pfizer vaccine. The hospital also plans to host it’s biggest clinic yet for administering vaccines on Thursday Feb. 25, aiming to vaccinate 500 people in that one day. 

Aroostook County so far is one the leading counties in the state in terms of percentage of people receiving at least one dose of the vaccines. More than 7,500 people in The County have received their first doses. 

“It’s not happening nearly as fast as we’d like to,” Anderson said. “But it is happening.”

People looking to pre-register for upcoming clinics can do so by visiting the hospital’s website, houltonregional.org, or by calling 207-521-2240.