The first shipments of a new COVID-19 vaccine started to arrive in Maine on Monday.
The vaccine was developed by Moderna and approved last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sixty vials containing a total of 600 doses arrived at Central Maine Medical Center shortly before 10 a.m., said Ann Kim, hospital spokeswoman.
Maine is expecting to receive 24,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, as well as 4,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough to vaccinate 29,075 front-line health care workers.
The Moderna doses will be delivered this week to 37 hospitals and home care agencies across Maine. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored in ultra-cold freezers at minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit), the Moderna vaccine may be stored in standard freezers.
MaineHealth is expecting deliveries of the Moderna vaccine on Monday at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington and MaineHealth Care at Home in Saco, said John Porter, MaineHealth spokesman.
The Pfizer doses received this week will be delivered to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, and MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, with some redistribution to other hospitals to ensure access to the vaccine, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last week, Pfizer delivered 5,850 doses that launched Maine’s effort to vaccinate an estimated 75,000 health care workers across the state who have direct contact with patients.
Maine also has been allocated thousands of Pfizer doses – 6,825 last week and 3,900 this week – to begin vaccinating residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, possibly as soon as this week.
However, that process is being handled by CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies, so exactly where and when nursing home vaccinations will take place is unclear. Neither CVS nor Walgreens would provide details about their vaccination plans in Maine and the Maine CDC said it had no information about the pharmacies’ plans.
This story will be updated.