At Northern Light Health, we have worked hard to prepare for and respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. We are now working hard to quickly and efficiently distribute COVID-19 vaccines at the direction of the Maine State CDC.
We are unable to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to the general public at this time, but are preparing for when we will. We know there are many questions about the vaccine and how it will be distributed. We will continue to inform our patients and communities with up to date information as it becomes available, and that you will know when you are able to get vaccinated.
It’s important to remember:
- The approval process for vaccines protecting against COVID-19 requires rigorous testing and trials to prove the vaccine is safe and effective, and the U.S. vaccine safety system is working to ensure that all vaccines meet stringent criteria before distribution.
- All new medications evaluated for use at Northern Light Health undergo additional internal review by subject matter experts to validate available information and ensure safety before use. These vaccines each undergo this rigorous process after FDA approval.
If You are 70 or Over Click Here to Schedule Your Vaccine
Northern Light Health, like all other healthcare systems in the state of Maine, receives vaccine doses from the Maine CDC with instructions as to who should receive the vaccine. Our goal is to ensure we safely and effectively deliver the COVID-19 vaccine using the phased approach that the Maine CDC outlines for us.
While the complete process is not mapped out at this time, we can share that critical workers in essential industries, individuals with conditions placing them at moderate risk, older adults, teachers and school staff, people in congregant living situations, and other healthcare providers are likely to be included in the state’s phase two.
It is important to remember that all vaccines currently approved for use require two doses, an initial dose and a booster 21 or 28 days apart. And that while we work to get people vaccinated it’s vital that we all, regardless of vaccination status, continue to mask, physically distance, and keep up with good hand hygiene to slow the spread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vaccine Eligibility & Scheduling
The Maine CDC controls the plan for the vaccination of Maine’s population. At this time, the Maine COVID-19 Vaccination Plan identifies four phases since there are a limited number of COVID-19 vaccine doses available – this supply should increase in 2021. We do not have a date for when we will receive all our doses or when we will transition to each phase.
At this time, we are vaccinating Phase 1A and Phase 1B as defined by the Maine CDC which includes healthcare workers, first responders, and community members 70 and over.
Right now, we only offer online registration. We are working quickly to stand up a phone registration process.
- To register, patients should visit https://covid.northernlighthealth.org/publicvaccine
- Patients must schedule an appointment to be vaccinated to ensure that we have vaccine on hand, to maintain safe physical distancing, and to ensure we have appropriate staffing to manage giving these vaccines safely.
- Appointments are added every Monday by 2PM based on how much vaccine we receive; this prevents the possibility of needing to cancel appointments if vaccine does not arrive.
- If the website shows zero appointments available for a date and time, you should wait to start the registration process. The online system does not store patient information, and, at this time, there is no wait list.
We are working hard to set up and staff a phone registration system. We know it’s hard to wait. If they would like more information about the vaccine and vaccination process, patients can call 207.275.2200 to hear a recording with the most up-to-date information regarding the vaccination and registration processes.
Once the phone registration line is live, we will share this information with staff, the media, and share it online and on social media to ensure that the public has the information.
Your social security number and the other information requested is needed to complete patient registration for the vaccine. By completing registration online we are able to save time when we are face-to-face the day of vaccination and limit the risk of exposure for you, our other patients, and our staff. If you are still uncomfortable entering this information, you can skip this field online but may need to provide in order to receive the vaccination. If you prefer not to use our online tools to register, please wait and register by phone when the call center becomes available.
The Maine COVID-19 Vaccination Plan identifies four phases, due to the limited number of vaccine doses available at this time. Northern Light Health is working closely with Maine CDC to plan mass community vaccinations, but we do not have a firm date on when this will begin.
This will vary based on where you schedule your vaccine. It is very important that you get both your initial shot and booster at location noted in the system to ensure timeliness and that you are getting the same vaccine.
With the current, limited supplies we are unable to allow people to choose which vaccine they get. We do know that the vaccines that have been authorized for use at this time have very similar efficacy and mild side effects for most people.
Yes, you will need to schedule an appointment to get your vaccine. Because vaccine supplies are limited this ensures we have enough vaccine for you when you arrive. It also helps us with physical distancing and staffing of vaccination clinics.
You will be able to select a vaccination clinic when you register, currently vaccines can only be scheduled online at northernlighthealth.org.
While there is currently a limited supply, and not everyone is able to be vaccinated right away, the companies that make the vaccines are continuing to manufacture product.
The federal government has invested in select vaccine manufacturers to help increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine. This will allow the United States to continually increase the supply in the weeks and months to come.
No, however, the state of Maine is unable to cover the cost of administration of the vaccine at this time, because of this we need to bill your insurance provider to help staff the vaccination clinics. The vaccine itself is provided at no cost.
Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes, the CDC recommends that all individuals receive a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of history of COVID-19 infection. In the trials to approve the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the vaccine provided additional protection to participants with a history of COVID-19.
Per the CDC, persons with documented COVID-19 may choose to delay vaccination for up to 90 days post-infection if desired based on low probability of reinfection within this time period.
Individuals with current symptomatic COVID-19 infection should wait until symptoms resolve and quarantine period has ended before getting vaccinated.
Due to the current, limited supplies this is not recommended. We do not know when there will be adequate supply to allow people to choose their vaccine type.
- People 16 and over can receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine
- People 18 and over can receive the Moderna vaccine
- Pfizer/BioNtech is currently running trials for children 12 and up
- At this time there is not information about availability of a vaccine for children under the age of 12
Yes, but is recommended that you receive some added information about the trials leading up to approval and the known risks of the vaccines.
- Neither the Pfizer/BioNtech or Moderna vaccine has been studied in individuals who are or may become pregnant, because of this the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest a patient-provider conversation on the risks and benefits of vaccination for individuals
- While some individuals in the clinical trials did become pregnant, there were not enough to make any determinations about safety.
- While mRNA vaccines are new for use in humans, the mRNA in the vaccine is degraded quickly by normal cellular processes and does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to the pregnant person or the fetus. However, the potential risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and the fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been adequately studied in pregnant people.
- All vaccines may cause immune reactions including fevers. Fevers may cause problems in fetal development, though this risk is small and consequences from vaccination in general during pregnancy are rare.
- Due to the consequences of infection and COVID-19 disease, in populations where mRNA vaccines are recommended, such as in healthcare workers, vaccination should be offered for individuals who are or may become pregnant especially where community spread of the disease is a concern.
After reading this information if you are comfortable with receiving the vaccine proceed with the online registration. If you wish to have a further discussion with your healthcare team, please schedule an appointment to do so. This discussion should happen between you and your healthcare team and cannot be completed at a staff vaccination clinic.
Yes. While lactating individuals were not included in most clinical trials, national organizations like American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology agree that the theoretical safety risk is low and the benefit high. It is not recommended that breastfeeding be discontinued in patients receiving the vaccine.
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for you to receive. If you have a compromised immune system the vaccine may be less effective, but it should not create additional side effects.
No. People with a known anaphylactic reaction to any ingredient of the mRNA vaccine should NOT receive the vaccine at this time.
Yes, the vaccine does not contain eggs or latex.
Yes, when you arrive at the vaccination clinic, you should notify your vaccinator that you have a history of allergic reaction and to which vaccine or injectable product you have reacted to.
The CDC considers a history of allergic reaction to any other vaccine or injectable therapy a precaution, but not a contraindication, for COVID-19 vaccination. You should discuss with your pharmacist or primary care provider about the benefits and risks of vaccination.
Yes, but you should wait until 90 days after receipt of the monoclonal antibody.
The CDC recommends deferring COVID-19 vaccination for 90 days after receipt of a monoclonal antibody product or convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19.
In most cases yes, Flu-like symptoms, including fever (even high fevers), chills, fatigue, and body aches are all signs that your immune system is reacting to the vaccine and creating protective antibodies.
- If you experienced a severe allergic reaction to the first dose you should not receive the second dose.
- If you experienced severe side-effects, resulting in hospitalization or emergency room treatment, you should consult with your provider before to receiving the second dose.
Yes, but wait at least 14 days from the date you received the vaccine to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC recommends waiting 14 days between receipt of different vaccines. If you have received a vaccine in the last 14 days, you should wait until this period has ended before receiving your COVID-19 vaccine. This is to make sure your immune system can mount a response and make antibodies to both vaccines.
No, you should make every effort to get your second dose at the scheduled time, however if you miss your second dose you should reschedule your appointment as soon as possible. You will not need to repeat the first dose.
Vaccine Clinical Questions
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine products use a messenger RNA (mRNA) delivery system. The mRNA is basically a recipe that tells your cells how to make a piece of the virus called the spike protein. Your immune system then uses these pieces of the virus to learn how to recognize it and remove it from the body. While this is new technology for making human vaccines, it has been studied since the 1990’s
COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. However, it does take time, and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue.
The CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine if the issue is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and determine the best course of action.
Northern Light Health has a standard and independent review process to evaluate any new medicine, vaccine, or biologic therapeutic agent. The Northern Light Health Formulary Management Oversight Committee (FMOC), made up of Pharmacy leadership from all member organizations, infectious disease pharmacists, physicians, and subject matter experts have reviewed the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine by each manufacturer carefully.
No, there is absolutely no actual virus in the vaccine and thus you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine or transmit COVID-19 to anyone else as a result of being vaccinated.
At this time, there are no reports of increased incidence of allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine relative to other vaccinations. You should not receive the vaccine if you are allergic to any of its components. If you think you may have an allergy to any vaccine components, please tell staff at the vaccine clinics and they can help you identify if it is safe for you to receive the vaccine.
No, the vaccine cannot affect your DNA. The vaccine contains mRNA encoding a single protein found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. mRNA is a copy of your DNA that contains information that tells your cells how to build proteins. The vaccine cannot affect your DNA because:
- Humans lack the ability to turn mRNA back into DNA or incorporate mRNA into DNA
- Your DNA is stored inside the nucleus of your cell, and the mRNA in the vaccine is not able to interact with it
- Finally, the mRNA present in the vaccine that is put into your cells breaks down quickly – typically within a few hours to a couple of days.
No, there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine will have any impact on fertility. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines which cause your immune system to make antibodies against a protein found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus (see section How do the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines work?
Concerns have been circulating on social media about a placental protein sharing a gene sequence with the protein that the vaccine helps you make antibodies against. Antibody binding is complex, and it would be extremely unlikely that antibodies you make from the vaccine would bind to a placental protein just based on one shared sequence. If this did happen, it would also be expected with natural infection as well (since the vaccine helps you make the same antibodies as you would in natural infection) and this has not been observed.
No, neither the Pfizer-BioNTech nor Moderna COVID-19 vaccine utilize fetal cell lines in the manufacturing process for either of these vaccines and are listed as ethically uncontroversial by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a prominent pro-life organization.
Fetal cell lines are commonly used in research and were obtained from aborted fetuses in the 1970s and 1980s. In all cases, no new fetal tissue is required to utilize any of these cell lines. In the early phases of vaccine development (preclinical testing in animals) both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna used one fetal cell line called HEK293 that originated from fetal kidney cells in the 1970s. Use of these fetal cell lines never requires harvesting of new fetal tissue.
Some vaccines in development for COVID-19 do utilize fetal cells lines for manufacturing and development and there are several resources available to help you address ethical concerns. A list of COVID vaccines in development and details regarding the use of fetal cell lines can be found: here
We recommend visiting the CDC website at CDC.gov
for more information about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Now That I'm Vaccinated
People who do not receive the vaccine will continue to be at risk of COVID-19 and it’s more severe symptoms and long-term effects. If most people get the vaccine, we can put an end to many of the challenges we have faced for the past year much more quickly (overcrowding of hospitals, physical distancing, increased health risks for members of our communities who are older and have pre-existing conditions, among others).
Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people continue to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household regardless of whether or not you have received the vaccine.
It may still be possible to transmit the virus even while asymptomatic after vaccination – studies are ongoing. You should continue to follow all public guidance for social distancing and masking requirements.
The mRNA vaccines are not interchangeable and have not been studied in combination. The safety and efficacy of mixed-product series has not been evaluated. However, the CDC recommends that if different vaccine products are inadvertently administered, no additional doses of either product are recommended.