Jan. 13, 2021 -- State health officials in Maine ordered the Walgreens pharmacy on Monday to send nearly 2,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to two hospitals in Lewiston for health care workers, according to the Bangor Daily News.

The pharmacy chain didn’t have immediate plans to administer the vaccines, the Maine CDC said. Walgreens confirmed that appointments hadn’t yet been scheduled at long-term care facilities to use the doses, Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, told the newspaper.

The 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will go to the Central Maine Medical Center and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

Walgreens indicated it “did in fact have doses on hand, and they could not tell us when they indicated that they would put them into arms. That didn’t work for me,” Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, told the newspaper.

Nationwide, Walgreens and CVS are vaccinating residents at long-term care facilities through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. So far, 4.2 million doses have been distributed and 937,000 have been administered, according to CDC numbers updated on Monday.

In Maine, more than 4,000 residents and staff at long-term care facilities have been vaccinated, Shah told the newspaper. Concerned about the lag in the vaccine rollout, he asked both pharmacies if they had extra doses and if they had plans for them.

“That’s a tough call to make, but I am prepared and will continue to do that if we don’t see that pace increase going forward,” he said.

The doses will go to staff members in the first vaccine priority group, Steve Costello, a spokesman for St. Mary’s, told Maine Public Radio.

“That will allow us to progress through 1A much faster and also reach out to dentist offices and other physician offices that may not have had an opportunity yet to get a vaccination for their people,” he said. “So it definitely is allowing us to do that on top of finishing 1A with our own staff.”

WebMD Health News Brief


Bangor Daily News, “Maine orders Walgreens to give up vaccine doses it had no immediate plans to use.”

CDC, “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

Maine Public Radio, “Maine CDC Said Walgreens Administered Vaccines Too Slowly, So The Doses Were Taken To Hospitals.”

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