Hospital officials urge community to seek vaccine sooner, not later

3 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Now that COVID-19 vaccines are available to all those in Maine who are age 16 or older, Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital has adjusted some clinic hours to be more accessible to those in school or working during the day.  

“With summer right around the corner, vaccines are a way for us to try to find some semblance of normal,” said Jay Reynolds, MD, senior physician executive at the hospital. 

“Whether it be families looking at vacation plans, teens looking to play sports, or those preparing to head to college in the fall, preventive steps now can make the difference. Since it takes five weeks from receiving the first dose of Pfizer until someone is considered fully vaccinated, it’s important to get started with the process,” Reynolds said.

For the Pfizer vaccine, individuals must allow three weeks between the two doses and another two weeks after that before the vaccine is considered fully effective.  Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those age 16 and 17, and in Aroostook County it is only available from A.R. Gould’s clinic in Presque Isle.   

According to Reynolds, another reason people should consider seeking a vaccine sooner rather than later is ease of access.  As the demand for the vaccine begins to diminish in the area, the hospital will begin scaling back vaccine efforts. In the near future, they will be transitioning away from holding a large-scale vaccination clinic at NMCC to doing something on a smaller level on hospital property.

“Running a large vaccination site away from the hospital is a drain on our resources.  While volunteers have been incredibly helpful, we are in large part depending on our own staff and leaders to be operating that location two days a week while still maintaining needs at the hospital. We will continue to do so as long as there is a need, but once clinic numbers get smaller, we can handle vaccinations more efficiently in-house,” Reynolds said.  

As  local needs lessen, as demonstrated by unfilled clinic spots, so does the hospital’s allotment of vaccines from the state. Those allotments are redirected downstate where demand is still great. When allotments are smaller, smaller clinics will result.

Therefore, vaccine slots will be more readily available while the clinic continues at NMCC, and Reynolds urged people to take advantage of that opportunity.

Individuals can register at or by calling 207-204-8551. The Aroostook Agency on Aging (1-800-439-1789) and the Aroostook County Action Program (207-764-3721) continue to help register people over the phone as well as connecting them to resources they might need, such as transportation to the clinic.