ELLSWORTH — A new COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the former Family Dollar on High Street opens Thursday, April 1, with 320 doses of the Moderna vaccine already in hand, said Kelley Columber, director of communications for Northern Light Maine Coast and Blue Hill hospitals.
At full capacity, the clinic will be able to handle 500 to 700 shots a day at eight vaccination stations while maintaining physical distances between patients throughout the process. The clinic is located between Shaw’s and Renys.
Open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, except for Saturday, April 3, vaccination appointments are made through the Northern Light website on Mondays (https://covid.northernlighthealth.org), by calling the Northern Light vaccine registration number at 204-8551 or on the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website (https://vaccinateme.maine.gov/).
“In order to make this a smooth process, patients should wait in their cars till five minutes before their appointment,” said John Ronan, CEO of Northern Light Maine Coast and Blue Hill hospitals.
“We can’t overstress this,” Dr. James Jarvis added. “And, if you don’t have an appointment, you can’t come up and ask for one.”
The former store has been deep cleaned, wired for technology and divided into waiting areas, vaccination stations, a post-vaccination observation area and an entryway.
Just as in the larger Northern Light clinic at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, an onsite observer will be present to monitor for any adverse reactions.
What the mass vaccination clinic is in need of is volunteers. Northern Light hopes to have 30 to 35 volunteers present each vaccination day.
“There’s a role for everybody,” Vice President for Operations Joe Gaetano said, noting that 20 to 25 volunteers in a non-clinical capacity are needed “to guide [patients] through the process.”
The city and Northern Light have been working to open an Ellsworth mass vaccination clinic since early this year.
“We’ve been meeting with the city and [City Manager] Glenn [Moshier] ever since COVID started,” Columber noted.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with all the effort Northern Light has put in to set this up,” Moshier said. “We’re ecstatic that Ellsworth residents and residents from surrounding towns can come [here] with ease and efficiency and get vaccinated.”