Living

Cary Medical Center has administered more than 4,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

CARIBOU, Maine — Cary Medical Center has administered 4,195 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of April 7, with 2,120 first doses, 1,570 second doses and 505 single doses. 

Cary and Pines Health Services in Caribou are offering vaccines to Maine residents ages 18 and older, and have been receiving weekly shipments of doses.

The hospital has received both the Moderna and Jannsen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine. Both vaccines have been authorized for people 18 years of age or older, however only the Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds. 

Dr. Regen Gallagher, chief medical officer at Cary Medical Center, said both Cary and Pines receive an allocation of doses from the state every week, adding that the amount given has been increasing on a weekly basis. 

“Initially we were only getting about 100 doses a week, but now we’re getting between 300 and 400,” she said. “Pines was getting about 100, but this last week they got 200 for the first time. So we got 600 for this week between us, which is the first time that’s happened. It’s slowly increasing.”

She said the state has started advising hospitals to administer the vaccine to unvaccinated patients before discharge, and that they are currently working out the logistics of how to do this while still using every dose available. 

The Jannsen vaccine comes in a vial with five doses. Once it is opened, all the doses need to be administered within six hours. 

For those who are apprehensive about getting the vaccine, Gallagher said they are proven to be safe.

“We’ve seen very few significant reactions, and all the ones we have seen are treatable, unlike COVID — which is not treatable,” she said. You just have to let [COVID] run its course, and hopefully it’s a mild one.”

With the end result of COVID-19 infection potentially being death, Gallagher said the benefits of the vaccine clearly outweigh the risks. 

Many of the Cary staff received their vaccine in late 2020.

“We saw in our staff the entire range of symptoms and side effects, from none to all of them, but they were all very brief, and everyone did well afterward,” she said. 

Anyone 16 or older can sign up for the vaccine at sites administering Pfizer vaccines. A list of all state sites is available via the Maine website with relevant information for signing up. 

Those 18 and older who want to schedule an appointment in Caribou can do so by visiting the Cary Medical Center or Pines Health Services websites at carymedicalcenter.org or pineshealth.org.

Gallagher said anyone without internet access can call Cary Medical Center at 207-498-3111 and schedule an appointment with Nancy Bergin.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.