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Maine Medicine Weekly Update
October 1, 2021

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What You Need to Know: FDA Authorization for Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 65 and older, as well as for certain others at high risk of severe disease. Eligible patients are those who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago and meet at least one of the below criteria from the Maine CDC:

  • People 65 years and older
  • Residents in long-term care settings  
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions based on their individual benefits and risks
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting based on their individual benefits and risks.
Read More

Additional COVID-19 Pandemic Updates, Guidance & News

CDC Staff: After Third Dose for the Immunocompromised, Hold Off on 'Booster'

According to a recent Medscape Today story, “Immunocompromised people who received an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine are among those not yet indicated for boosters, and the jury is still out on boosters for previously infected individuals, CDC staff said on Tuesday.” Read More

Maine CDC & Maine Immunization Program: Third Dose vs. Booster Explained

  • Who Needs an Additional (3rd) COVID-19 Vaccine?
  • What’s the difference between a booster dose and an additional (3rd) dose?
  • When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?
  • Who will be the first people to get a booster dose?
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Guidance- September 8, 2021
Read More

Maine Board of Pharmacy Posts Statement on Dispensing Ivermectin

An avalanche of online misinformation about the antiparasitic drug ivermectin’s ability to treat COVID-19 has caused a series of national problems, from increased calls to poisoning centers to a shortage of the medicine itself.

Last month, there were more than 88,000 prescriptions nationwide for human formulations of ivermectin up from a pre-pandemic baseline of 3,600 according to US CDC.

The Maine Board of Pharmacy has posted a statement to their website on dispensing Ivermectin. Read More

US CDC Issues Urgent Alert for Pregnant Women To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

  • While the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people.
  • As of September 27, 2021, more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in pregnant people, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 161 deaths.
  • The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people (n=22) in a single month of the pandemic was reported in August 2021.
  • Approximately 97% of pregnant people hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated.
  • In addition to the risks of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant people, there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including preterm birth and admission of their neonate(s) to an intensive care unit (ICU). Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, have been reported.
  • As of September 18, 2021, 31.0% of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancy
Read More

Health Care Worker COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs from Maine CDC

August 12: Governor announces certain Maine health care workers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1.

September 1: Governor announces enforcement of its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for health care workers will begin on October 29, 2021.

According to Maine CDC, the State of Maine has long required the immunization of employees of designated health care facilities to reduce the risk of exposure to, and possible transmission of, vaccine-preventable diseases. Maine CDC amended the existing rule to include the COVID-19 vaccine to protect the health and lives of Maine people, safeguard Maine’s health care capacity, and limit the spread of the virus. The MMA came out in strong support of the vaccination mandate when it was announced. Read More

Maine CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Requirements Reminder

The following notice/reminder was sent by Maine CDC last week.

Read More

FDA to Hold Advisory Committee Meetings to Discuss EUA for Moderna and J&J Booster Doses & Vaccines for Children

The US FDA announced three upcoming advisory committee meetings for COVID-19 vaccine boosters & potential shots for kids:

Oct 14: Moderna booster

Oct 15: J&J booster + NIH mix & match data

Oct 26: Pfizer vaccine for kids 5-11

  Read More

Pfizer Says it is Testing an Oral Medication as a Possible COVID-19 Treatment to Prevent Infection

Pfizer says it is testing an oral medication as a possible COVID-19 treatment to prevent infection in those exposed to the coronavirus. Pfizer next will enroll 2,660 healthy adults who live in the same household with a person or individuals with confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection. Participants in the clinical trial will receive the oral Pfizer drug and a low dose of the HIV drug ritonavir, or a placebo twice daily for five to 10 days. Read More

Retirement Planning

8,000 Days: Understanding Life through the Eyes of the MIT AgeLab, Thursday, October 14th at 11am

As lifespans continue to rise, retirement could be as long as 20 years—approximately 8,000 days. But if you’re looking at retirement as the final goal, then you might not be preparing in the best way.

  Read More

Substance Use Disorder

DEA Issues Public Safety Alert on Sharp Increase in Fake Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyl and Meth

WASHINGTON, DC – The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a Public Safety Alert warning Americans of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. DEA’s Public Safety Alert, the first in six years, seeks to raise public awareness of a significant nationwide surge in counterfeit pills that are mass-produced by criminal drug networks in labs, deceptively marketed as legitimate prescription pills, and are killing unsuspecting Americans at an unprecedented rate. Read More

Maine DHHS Asking for Survey Assistance for Substance Use Prevention & Chronic Disease

Maine DHHS released a bulletin this week seeking helpful information for use by its substance use prevention team and partners in chronic disease by completing the two surveys and/or sharing with those with whom you work. Read More

Immunization Corner

Hearing and Comment Period: Maine Immunization Requirements for Healthcare Workers

Under emergency rule-making powers, Governor Mills announced in early August that it would require health care workers in Maine to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1st. However, earlier this month her administration announced that it would not begin enforcement of health care worker vaccination requirement until October 29, 2021. Read More

Pediatric Care

Recognizing the Signs of Child Maltreatment - Identify to Protect

The Maine Medical Association has joined with the Maine Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, the Maine Primary Care Association, and Maine DHHS to offer an online program directed at clinical providers entrusted with the care of children's physical and mental health. Read More

Working with Children & Adolescents? Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership (MPBHP) Webinar Series (August thru December 2nd Wednesday of month)

The Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership (MPBHP) is a partnership between Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Northern Light Acadia Hospital, and MaineHealth. MPBHP is offering a webinar series for medical providers who work with children and adolescents and you will earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit.

  Read More

Surprise Billing

CMS Interim Final Rule on Surprise-Billing Seen as Favoring Insurers by Hospitals, Physicians & Media

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency under US HHS, released its interim final rule on surprise medical billing earlier this week. The rule lays out how payers and providers will resolve billing disputes under the No Surprises Act, the law was passed last year by Congress.

In a Washington Post article (subscription required), health care reporter, Rachel Roubin wrote, “the Biden administration handed insurers a victory in a much-anticipated rule detailing how to shield patients from pricey, unexpected medical bills.” Read More

More News ...

Maine AAP 2021 Fall Education Series

The Maine AAP is offering a fourteen session educational webinar series beginning on Tuesday, September 14th. Sessions are held on Tuesday evenings from 7-8pm. CME credit is available. You must pre-register to attend. REGISTER NOW!

Read More

The Red Cross and Your Neighbors Need YOU!

 The Red Cross has informed the MMA that they are in the midst of a very active and already devastating natural disaster season. They need reinforcements—YOU! You’ll commit 14 days (health professionals 10-14 days), and complete free virtual training. There is no cost to you. Red Cross arranges travel, provides lodging and food. Bring your willingness to serve, flexibility and ability to work multiple shifts on consecutive days. Read More

Simplified Treatment of Hepatitis C in Primary Care Settings

Presented by the Maine Independent Clinical Information Service (MICIS) at your medical practice or hospital. Read More


Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings

Below you will find an on-going list of Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings. Any questions should be referred to the contact person listed for each specialty.

  Read More

AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)

The recently revised EQIPP immunization course is designed to identify immunization rates in your practice, uncover barriers to immunization delivery systems, and provide techniques to overcome those barriers using clear aims that reflect expert principles and proven quality improvement methods and tools.

Read More

SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative

The Maine Medical Association- Center for Quality Improvement, in partnership with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, launched the SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance initiative.

  Read More

A DOSE OF INSIGHT: Care Transitions Through the Lens of Malpractice Claims, September 30th, 2-3pm

A new Coverys report evaluates events where the care transition directly led to an alleged medical error. It includes data-driven insights, case studies, and recommendations to reduce risk. For more insight on this topic, register for their free webinar based on the report.

  Read More


Northern Light Health is seeking board-eligible/board-certified Cardiologists

Northern Light Health is seeking board-eligible/board-certified Cardiologists for our well-established practices in metro/rural Maine.
Read More

Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine)

Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine) seeks aPhysician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) with outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills to provide primary care to patients of all ages in a family practice with integrated behavioral health services.
Read More

Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Bingham Area Health Center

Bingham Area Health Center seeks a Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) with outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills to provide primary care to patients of all ages in a family practice with integrated behavioral health services. Read More

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