- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Every resident of Maine who is at least 16 years old is now eligible for a coronavirus vaccination.

States around the country are expanding eligibility for the shots as supply increases. Maine expanded eligibility to all adults and all 16- and 17-year-old residents on Wednesday.

Supply of the vaccine remains limited, and state and health care providers are using advanced scheduling and registration to get as many people booked for a vaccine as possible.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Maine people have been enthusiastic about receiving the vaccine so far. He said the state is also prepared to work with residents who are more hesitant.

“If you’ve got honest questions, earnest questions about whether the vaccine is for you, raise those,” Shah said. “I want to know that folks have questions, and provide earnest answers back.”



The state previously rolled out vaccines to everyone 50 and older. Front-line health care workers and teachers have also received priority for a shot.

About a quarter of the state’s residents have completed the vaccination series, Shah said.

In other pandemic news in Maine:

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THE NUMBERS

Maine CDC said on Wednesday that it has reported 52,677 positive cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic. The coronavirus has also killed 747 people in Maine.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has been rising in recent weeks. Daily cases have also been rising elsewhere in the country recently.

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DOUBLE BOOKING

As vaccine appointments have become available, some residents have double booked appointments in Maine and other states. Shah said Tuesday that residents who have double booked should cancel the appointment they don’t plan to use.

Double booking sometimes happens when a resident books an appointment but then finds another with a more convenient time or location. Swiftly canceling the less convenient appointment will help open up slots for other people, he said.

“Do the right thing - cancel out the other one so someone else can have a chance to grab it,” Shah said.

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