Maine: Why the growing regional disconnect between vaccine need and supply?

In yesterday’s Portland Press Herald I explored why the state’s top public health official had to essentially do a two-minute advertisement to help the mass vaccination site in Bangor fill vaccination slots while the one serving the county with the largest number of still unvaccinated 70+ year olds continued to run under capacity for lack of vaccine.

The answer was surprising, in that that official — Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah — and the state’s largest hospital network and operator of the southern Maine vaccine site — have completely contradictory ones. Maine CDC says they continue to give large allocations of vaccine to the Bangor site while those in other parts of the state have huge waiting lists because the other sites don’t have the capacity to take more. Not so, says MaineHealth, which says they have latent capacity and been begging for bigger supplies for some time, which Maine CDC isn’t giving them.

As you’ll see in the story, Shah intimates that MaineHealth hasn’t demonstrated an ability to take more, likely an allusion to a scandal involving the vaccination of indelible workers.

For wider context on where Maine stands with the pandemic, consider this “step back and assess” feature I wrote on the last five and half months of the crisis.