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More than half of Maine’s youngest eligible fully vaccinated

September 20, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — More than half of Maine’s youngest residents who qualify to get the COVID-19 vaccine are now fully vaccinated.

About 53% of people age 12 to 15 in the state have had their final dose of vaccine, the office of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills reported on Monday. That percentage trails the state’s overall percentage among eligible people, which is 74%.

Many children are still in the process of getting vaccinated, though, as the percentage that has had at least a first dose is more than 60%.

The state has exceeded 50% vaccination of 12 year olds and early teens as vaccines for younger people might soon become available. Pfizer said on Monday that it will seek U.S. authorization for children ages 5 to 11.

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Maine has one of the highest rates of coronavirus vaccination in the country. However, increasing the rate of vaccination remains important, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a video posted recently by the agency.

“The vast majority of people who are still getting COVID-19 are unvaccinated, not vaccinated,” Shah said. “The vaccines are continuing to work extremely well, especially at keeping people out of the hospital.”

In other pandemic news in Maine:

CASES RISE

The number of daily new COVID-19 cases in Maine keeps rising in recent weeks.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 384.29 new cases per day on Sept. 4 to 485.29 new cases per day on Sept. 18. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 1.43 deaths per day on Sept. 4 to 3.29 deaths per day on Sept. 18.

The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.

The Maine CDC reported Monday there have been more than 83,000 positive cases of the virus in the state since the start of the pandemic. There have also been 984 deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that every county in Maine is the site of high transmission of the virus except Sagadahoc, where transmission is listed as “substantial,” a lower category. Health authorities are recommending indoor mask use everywhere in the state.

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TESTING GRANT

Maine’s largest health network is set to receive nearly $1 million from the National Institutes of Health to study how to make regular coronavirus testing more accessible for immigrants and low-income and homeless residents.

MaineHealth said Dr. Kathleen Fairfield of Maine Medical Center and the Maine Medical Center Research Institute will lead the study along with Maine Medical Center Research Institute vice president of research Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs.

Fairfield said the study is about “how we make COVID-19 testing accessible and acceptable to populations who are at higher risk of contracting COVID, and build trust with the medical community.”