Franklin Countys First News

A COVID-19 update from FMH President Trampas Hutches

In late December we began immunizing our care team members at Franklin Memorial Hospital. To date 455 staff have been immunized. Since then we have additionally been rapidly laying out our plans for immunizing our community based on guidelines from the Maine CDC.

The rising rates of infection and hospitalizations in Maine and our community point out the importance and urgency of getting vaccinated as soon possible. We are all anxious to put this pandemic behind us and widespread vaccination is our best weapon in fighting this virus.

Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) is vaccinating with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine, as well as the Pfizer vaccine also used in Maine, have gone through all the trials and steps that would normally be required of any vaccine, and have been proven to be both safe and effective.

Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited, the Maine CDC is recommending distribution in phases, an approach that is subject to change as Maine receives new vaccination guidance.

At this time, vaccine distribution in Maine is midway in phase 1a, limited to health care workers and emergency responders and Maine’s most vulnerable residents, such as Mainers living in nursing facilities.

As we move into phase 1b in the coming weeks, the CDC recommends that vaccinations be prioritized for older adults (persons 75 years and older) and other frontline essential workers (i.e. police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, postal workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, teachers, and daycare workers).

FMH is currently planning for this next 1b vaccination phase for the community, but exactly who of the above groups will be first in line is still under discussion. Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC said this week that no final decisions have been made, but the state is looking to prioritize those who are most vulnerable and at risk of transmitting the disease.

We will start vaccinating these individuals as soon as our vaccination plan and logistics are finalized, sufficient vaccine doses are available, and the Maine CDC gives us the green light.

As vaccine availability further increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to phase 1c to include more groups such as non-frontline essential workers and people 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and people aged 65-74 years. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large enough quantities of vaccine are available.

Community members will be notified in a variety of ways when it’s their turn including the Maine CDC, employers, MyChart, medical providers, social media, telephone calls, and through notices sent to media outlets. I will also continue to provide you with local updates as they become available.

For additional information about COVID-19 updates and vaccine availability visit www.mainehealth.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19.

Thank you for doing your part to help flatten the curve!

Sincerely,

Trampas Hutches
President, Franklin Memorial Hospital

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