Maine’s vaccine mandate for health care workers in effect
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The governor’s mandate for health care workers to be vaccinated went into effect on Friday, but it won’t be enforced right away.
The state has said it will not not start enforcing the rule until Oct. 29 to give more time to workers to get their shots and to help health providers fill potential staffing gaps.
MaineHealth, the state’s largest health care provider, said 93% of its 23,000 staff members were vaccinated and that 69 had quit.
Northern Light Health said nearly all of its doctors and nurses have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19, but that 89 staffers left because they would not get vaccinated.
Central Maine Healthcare said that 86% of their staff is vaccinated. They also said 40 staff members have already resigned and 30 more have submitted their resignations.
In other pandemic-related news:
More than 1,000 University of Maine System students must come into compliance with the system’s vaccination and testing requirements this month or they will be withdrawn from courses without a refund.
The system is reaching the end of its campaign to bring students into compliance with the rules. Students have until Oct. 15 to verify their vaccinated status or receive an exemption that requires weekly testing, the system said Thursday.
More than 23,000 members of the university community have uploaded their vaccination status into a university portal, and the vaccination rate among residential students who live on campus is 97%, it said.
However, 1,098 students have yet to upload information, the system said. Several hundred other students have also verified a first shot of coronavirus vaccine but need to upload a record showing they are full vaccinated now, it said.
Chancellor Dannel Malloy said the system needs to “help all of our students meet the science-based requirements we have established to protect our community from COVID-19.”
Maine pharmacists are seeing an increase in the number of prescriptions for ivermectin, enough for the Maine Board of Pharmacy to issue a warning to the state’s pharmacists.
Ivermectin has been promoted by Republican lawmakers and conservative talk show hosts and amplified via social media to millions of Americans who remain resistant to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
The drug can cause harmful side effects to humans and there’s little evidence it helps treat the virus.
Tom Edge, the retail pharmacy manager for Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, told the Portland Press Herald that he refused to fill six prescriptions in the last month.
The drug has limited use in humans to treat parasitic worms and lice. It’s primarily used to deworm horses and cattle.
Typically, ivermectin is rarely used on humans, Edge said, and he filled only three legitimate prescriptions for the drug in the past year.
“We can refuse any prescription that we feel is not being used for a legitimate purpose,” he said.
Janelle Tirrell, a veterinarian in Palermo, said ivermectin is an effective de-wormer for her four-legged patients at Third Coast Equine. But she said it’s dangerous for humans.