|February 12, 2021
MMA Weekly State Vaccination Plan Update
As Mainers continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine Medical Association Board of Directors and staff is continuing our efforts to engage Maine DHHS & Maine CDC to ensure equitable access to potentially lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine doses. We hope recent meetings and plan development will soon include more independent community physicians in COVID-19 vaccination plans.
The MMA Executive Committee has been working closely alongside the Maine Osteopathic Association (MOA), the Maine Primary Care Association (MePCA), and AARP on our efforts urging the state to incorporate locally owned and operated medical practices into plans to vaccinate their 70 and older patients with a prioritization on those with medical conditions that put them at greatest risk. Patients continue flooding smaller medical practice phone lines asking why their doctors cannot or will not vaccinate them.
As a result of weeks of work and brainstorming, MMA, MOA, and MePCA have jointly developed an independent medical practice collaboration template to be considered by Maine CDC for future vaccine allocation supplies for their patients. The MMA Executive Committee wishes to publicly thank Maine DHHS Senior Advisor, Lisa Letourneau, M.D., MPH, for her tireless efforts in engaging Maine’s physician community and on this and many other pandemic related challenges over the last year. Immediate Past-President Amy Madden, M.D., and MMA Board Chair, Erik Steele, D.O., played significant roles in drafting this document with Dr. Letourneau and Sally Weiss of Maine DHHS. We understand this to be a work in progress and are hoping for more flexibility as vaccine supply increases and the state develops more formal guidance for hard-to-reach populations.
Please contact MMA Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Dan Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 207-480-4199 for a copy, or more information about the medical practice vaccine collaboration template. The template should be used by potential community collaborations or “consortia” to propose alternative vaccine sites to the high throughput “mega-sites” if they can meet a 1000 dose/week threshold.
MMA CEO Andy MacLean was part of a regular state Vaccine Steering Committee along with colleagues from the Maine Hospital Association, the Maine Primary Care Association, and the Maine Health Care Association (nursing homes/assisted living/long term care) this week which included Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, Dr. Nirav Shah, & Governor Mills’ Senior Policy Advisor for Legislative Affairs, Beth Beausang. Discussion included the following topics.
The Week 10 order of vaccines for Maine is up slightly; an additional 1000 first doses (22,475) are expected next week. The amount does not include 4500 Moderna second doses.
Thirty-seven sites throughout Maine will receive only 100 doses. Twenty-six hospitals are scheduled to receive a total of 16,100 doses, tree independent pharmacies will receive a total of 400. Public safeties agencies will be getting 1,700 and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Health and Wellness Center, 100. The following outpatient groups can expect a total of 4,175:
Martin's Point Health Care—900
Maine Center for Cancer Medicine /dba New England Cancer Specialists—200
Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor—200
VNA Home Health and Hospice d/b/a Northern Light Home Care and Hospice—600
Spectrum Healthcare Partners—100
Greater Portland Health—100
B-Street Health Center—100
Sacopee Valley Health Center—100
York County Community Action Corporation/Nasson Health Care—100
Health Access Network - Lincoln—100
Regional Medical Center at Lubec—100
Eastport Health Care Inc. —100
Other topics discussed by the state’s Vaccine Steering Committee included:
Federal supply of vaccines
Vaccination site planning, and
The state received 4400 doses that were too cold around Martin Luther King weekend & it’s taken several weeks to determine that they can be used.
The state is expecting federal supply to remain the same for the next 3 weeks;
The Biden Administration is rolling out the U.S. Retail Pharmacy Program involving Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, & Cardinal. (details below)
The federal government also announced a new program for direct shipment of vaccine to federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), separate from the supply sent to states.
They are also anticipating separate federal supplies to VA, indigenous populations, DOD, perhaps others.
The U.S. CDC is working on guidance for nationwide community vaccine sites.
The U.S. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the weekend of February 26, 2021 and emergency use authorization (EUA) could come before March.
Marshall’s in Sanford; Auburn Mall, and the Augusta Civic Center “mega-sites” could be operational by next week.
The state continues working on unified scheduling internet platform/call center that hopefully will work in unison with the existing platforms of hospitals and health systems.
The state still looking at ways to track allocation & usage in order to avoid waste and may soon issue a policy on waste which may include enforcement mechanism.
The state is continuing to develop a transportation plan aimed at hard-to-reach populations and access for those Mainers through targeted vaccination clinics.
The state likely will continue to overlap vaccine phase eligibility as it did with Phase 1a/1b in effort to keep volume up.
Federal Government Announces Vaccine Distribution Plans with Walmart/Sam’s Club in 22 states—including Maine. Walmarts and Sam's Clubs in Maine got their first shipments of the COVID vaccine Wednesday morning. Maine locations offering the vaccine to eligible populations of Mainers can be found here, along with contact information. Maine is currently vaccinating people in Phase 1a: Health care, public safety, and critical COVID-19 infrastructure personnel, and only part of Phase 1b: People age 70 and over.
The New York Times published a story this week outlining how primary care physicians have grown increasingly frustrated with their exclusion from the nation’s vaccine rollout, unable to find reliable supplies for even their eldest patients and lacking basic information about distribution planning for the shots.
Additional Vaccine Resources:
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