Maine CDC recently posted staff vaccination rates for every school in the state. Some, including midcoast districts, appeared alarmingly low. But parents should probably take the inital figures with a grain of salt.

RSU 71, which includes Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont and Swanville, posted a district-wide staff vaccination rate of 46.3%; however, Assistant Superintendent Laura Miller said the number was skewed because not all schools had been able to collect complete data for the first reporting period at the end of August.

“When [the site] came out in September, it was a big ‘whoa’ for us,” she said.

Maine CDC requires monthly updates, which are submitted by school nurses, Miller said, directly to the site, where totals are updated monthly.

In the meantime, RSU 71 Superintendent Mary Alice McLean has been including updated tallies in a weekly email newsletter, and the reported vaccination rates are now significantly higher. Belfast Area High School, an outlier on Maine CDC’s August 31 report with a 30.2% staff vaccination rate, is now at 86%. Just one RSU 71 school, East Belfast, remained under 70% as of October 1.

RSU 13, the Rockland-based district, which includes Cushing, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Thomaston, is listed on the Maine CDC page as having an average staff vaccination rate of 77.2%.

Superintendent John McDonald said in an email that he believes the statistics are “reasonably accurate.”

The figures from RSU 13 and RSU 71 remain lower than vaccination rates for the general population, according to statistics posted by Maine CDC. The center lists Rockland as having a 95% vaccination rate for the general population. The lowest rate of vaccination in the general public among RSU 13 and RSU 71 towns are Cushing and Searsmont, both at 84%.

Representatives of RSU 3 in western Waldo County and Camden/Rockport-based Five Town CSD did not respond to requests for comment.

View the latest school staff vaccination statistics on the Maine CDC website. Direct link: