COVID-19 Vaccinations

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.

Scheduling a Vaccination

Download Our Registration Guide
 

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 need assistance scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine or have limited internet access, please call * (207) 204-8551.
  • If you are a healthcare worker and need to schedule your vaccine, please call * (207) 204-8554.

*Long distance or carrier fees may apply.

Vaccination

Schedule a Vaccination

Current Eligibility

If you are a Maine resident 12 years or older, you are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.


Important:

  • Community members under age 18 who would like to be vaccinated, must have a parent or guardian complete and initial the online scheduling form on their behalf.
  • In addition to scheduling a vaccine using the online process, patients under 18 are be required to bring a completed consent to treat form signed by their parent or guardian to their appointment.
  • Patients under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to their vaccination



Our COVID-19 vaccination scheduling times have changed to be more flexible and offer more options. The highlight is: our website will be open more of the time so you can check to see if there are available appointments.

New appointments are added throughout the week. Walk In appointments are available at most locations – check the scheduling tool to see the most up to date information. 
 

Vaccine Distribution

It is important to remember that two of the vaccines currently approved for use require two doses, an initial dose and a booster 21 or 28 days apart. When you’re making your appointment, your second dose appointment will also be scheduled. Make sure that BOTH appointments work for you. And please remember, 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 

While being on a list can feel reassuring, at the current rate of vaccination distribution based on call and website volume, it would take several months to call everyone on that wait list to offer them an appointment. We know it’s hard to wait to make an appointment, but we also know it’s often harder to wait for that call back. As vaccine supply increases, we will be able to open more appointments for more patients faster and reduce the wait for everyone.

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When planning for vaccinations, Northern Light Health considered several options and ultimately, our approach has been to take steps to reassure patients that when they make an appointment the dose will be here for them. 

We release appointments based on vaccine supply we have confirmed for this reason. While some other states have had to cancel vaccination appointments on a large scale when shipments did not match expectations, when community members book their appointment with Northern Light Health they can be confident that we will have the vaccine ready for them on time.
 

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Unfortunately, our system does not have the ability to do this. This is for complicated technical reasons, but it boils down to how the information transmits from the scheduling website into our registration system. We know that this is frustrating, and it’s one of the reasons we ask people to make sure they are not starting the scheduling process when the system displays zero available appointments.

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  • To schedule your vaccine, patients should visit covid.northernlighthealth.org/publicvaccine or call (207) 204-8551(long distance or carrier fees may apply)
  • 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 and Wednesday at 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.

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Patients without internet access should call (207) 204-8551 to schedule their vaccine. This line will be available seven days a week, 9am - 5pm.
 
  • 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 at 2PM based on how much vaccine we receive; this prevents the possibility of needing to cancel appointments if vaccine does not arrive
  • If you would like more information about the vaccine and vaccination process, please call (207) 275-2200 to hear a recording with the most up-to-date information regarding the vaccination and registration processes.

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Entering your social security number is helpful to complete the vaccine registration as part of the patient identification criteria, but if you are uncomfortable entering this information, you can skip this field. Though not required to complete within the demographics portion of the registration, it is necessary in the event that you have a Medicare Advantage plan and do not have access to your Medicare ID number. By fully 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.

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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.

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Please know that the vaccines that have been authorized for use at this time have very similar efficacy and mild side effects for most people. While most sites only have one type of vaccine available, the type of vaccine being offered is listed in the scheduling tool and you can choose where to go. Please remember that both Pfizer and Moderna required two doses a certain number of days apart – schedule your first dose when you know you will be able to get your second on time. Also, at this time only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for people under 18 years of age.

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Many of our vaccination sites offer walk-in appointments, you can see these in the scheduling tool. You are still welcome to set an appointment, it may be easier to plan your second dose if you do.

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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.

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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.

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Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household. And, face masks are still required in healthcare facilities by all – regardless of vaccination status.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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No. People with a known anaphylactic reaction to any ingredient of the mRNA vaccine should NOT receive the vaccine at this time.

Ingredient List:

 

Pfizer Moderna
mRNA
Lipids
Polyethylene glycol
Potassium chloride
Potassium phosphate
Sodium phosphate
Sodium chloride
Sucrose
mRNA
Lipids
Polyethylene glycol
Tromethamine
Acetic acid
Sodium acetate
Sucrose

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Yes, the vaccine does not contain eggs or latex.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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:
  1. Humans lack the ability to turn mRNA back into DNA or incorporate mRNA into DNA
  2. Your DNA is stored inside the nucleus of your cell, and the mRNA in the vaccine is not able to interact with it
  3. 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.

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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.

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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
 

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We recommend visiting the CDC website at CDC.gov for more information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

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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).

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The federal and state CDCs have recently updated masking guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated, click here to learn more. Please remember that face masks are still required in healthcare facilities by all – regardless of vaccination status.

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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.

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