MaineHealth has begun to offer limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines to people age 70 and older. Officials stressed that, for now, there will be limited supplies of the vaccine and that demand is expected to far exceed availability.

Waldo County General Hospital and Pen Bay Medical Center will open the area’s first vaccination clinics for the general public on January 27 and January 29, respectively. The Waldo County clinic will be located in Building #6 in the former MBNA complex at 21 Schoodic Drive in Belfast. The Knox County vaccination clinic will be located at the Samoset Resort, Samoset Inn Road, Rockport.

LincolnHealth is currently vaccinating people at the Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse at the Boothbay Region YMCA. Lincoln Medical Partners has begun calling its patients age 70 and up to assist with the scheduling process.

Each location will follow Maine CDC guidance for the vaccine rollout, according to a MaineHealth news release, completing vaccination of health care workers as well as initiating vaccinations for community members age 70 and older. As the state expands eligibility criteria, hospitals will share this information via pbmc.org, wcgh.org, in local media and on the PBMC and WCGH Facebook pages.

Demand for scheduling so far has been overwhelming, and people are encouraged to be patient as they seek vaccinations. MaineHealth is asking people not to reach out to local MaineHealth practices to try to schedule a vaccination; up-to-date information and signups are available at mainehealth.org/vaccine or call (877) 780-7545.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna versions of the vaccine require cold storage and special handling, and recipients must be observed for a period of time after vaccination to monitor for adverse reactions. Vaccine clinics will incorporate all core COVID-19 prevention strategies — including symptom screening, masking, social distancing, and standard hygiene measures — to ensure a safe care environment.

Vaccinations are by appointment only, and people are urged not to arrive at a vaccination site without one.