SVH Opens Community Vaccination Site
Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital kicked off its first community vaccination clinic today for community healthcare workers and people age 70 and older. The location of the ongoing community clinic has been set at Millennium Wedding and Event Center in Palmyra. 150 doses were administered today at the site and appointments are already filled for other clinics this week. More clinics will be added as the Hospital learns of its vaccine allotment from the state each week.
“We are very excited to be moving into this phase of community vaccinations,” said Terri Vieira, hospital president. “We have started dose two of the vaccine with our own staff, and we’re pleased to be moving onward to vaccinate more people in the communities we serve. It’s progress, it’s hope. At the same time, we have to be patient as the vaccine supply is still significantly lower than we had hoped.”
To be able to make this mass vaccination clinic a reality, the Hospital needed a large community space and Millennium was the perfect fit. Millennium Wedding and Event Center is located at 416 Oxbow Road in Palmyra.
“It’s very encouraging to see the positive community interest in the vaccine and we’re eager to get as many people vaccinated in the 70+ age group as we can with the limited supply,” noted Tyson Thornton, PharmD, associate vice president and director of pharmacy at Sebasticook Valley Hospital. “We hope to see the vaccine supply increase each week; we know the federal and state governments have been working on that plan.”
Thornton added that vaccination clinics are not just for Northern Light Health patients but are open to anyone who has an appointment and qualifies in the current vaccine tiers that are set by the Maine CDC. At this time, community clinics are for community healthcare workers and those over 70.
Retiree Julie Burwell from Dixmont said she was relieved to get the vaccine today. “It’s such a positive step to get the vaccine. It’s vital and I feel safer now.”
87-year old Sue Mayhew Gore commented how smooth the vaccination process was and how nice and helpful everyone was at the clinic. “The shot will help prevent illness so I’m glad to get it.”
Mayhew Gore’s daughter, Sharon Littlefield, expressed gratitude to Sebasticook Valley Hospital for the local clinic. “It’s really nice that people won’t have to travel far to get the vaccine. Staying close to home is important for so many people like my mom.”
Individuals must pre-register for an appointment to take part in a vaccination clinic. Due to the high demand, as well as the logistics around handling the vaccines, walk-ins cannot be accommodated. More appointments will be added when vaccine becomes available. Each week, after receiving their vaccine allotment from the Maine CDC, Sebasticook Valley Hospital will open slots at Millennium based on that availability. The hope is to hold at least one clinic each week, but vaccine availability will determine how they can proceed.
Registration is available at covid.northernlighthealth.org/publicvaccine. For those who do not have internet access, call 207.204.8551 to reach the Vaccine Registration and Information line. Due to the strong community interest and very low vaccine supply, slots are few and filling up very quickly.
Preparing for Registration
When preparing to register, whether by phone or online, people are asked to have their insurance or Medicare information, and the name and phone number for an emergency contact person. The vaccine itself is free but a small charge to cover the cost of administration will be billed to people’s insurance.
Arriving at the Vaccination Site
When arriving at the Millennium location, people can follow building signage to the event entrance and are asked to please not arrive any earlier than 10 minutes prior to their appointment time. Community members should not show up at the site without an appointment.
For More Information
Community members are encouraged to visit covid.northernlighthealth.org/publicvaccine
each Monday at 2 pm to learn about clinics that may be scheduled for the week. Or visit the Maine CDC website (www.Maine.gov
) to see all vaccination sites across the state and any open appointments.
Sebasticook Valley Hospital leaders are asking individuals to please not call their primary care office or the hospital to try to register. The two options for registering at this time are on the website or the special registration phone line.