The state of Maine has expanded its vaccine requirements so that anyone ages 16 and up is eligible for the vaccine. This new rule went into effect on April 7, allowing many more members of the University of Maine community to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a huge step forward in returning to pre-pandemic campus life at UMaine, possibly allowing for more in-person events and opportunities for the fall 2021 semester.
UMaine is doing its best to get the word out about increased vaccine eligibility and to promote the safety of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnston & Johnston vaccines. In an effort to provide accurate information to the UMaine community, President Joan Ferrini-Mundy announced that the university will be sponsoring an event on April 15.
“A vaccination educational webinar at noon [on] April 15, offered by the UMaine Institute of Medicine, UMaine’s Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center and Northern Light Health, is open to students, employees and the public. Panelists include Dr. Jim Jarvis, Northern Light Health; Dr. Lisa Letourneau, Maine Department of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Laura Blaisdell, MaineHealth. Moderating will be Dr. Kelley Strout, director of the UMaine School of Nursing. Come learn more about why we should all get vaccinated. Registration for the webinar is online,” wrote Ferrini-Mundy in her April 9 Friday Futurecast.
Additionally, many members of the UMaine administration have received their vaccine and encourage others to do so when they are able to. Vice President for Student Life and Inclusive Excellence and Dean of Students Robert Dana, Chancellor Dannel Malloy and President Ferrini-Mundy have all announced that they received the vaccine. Ferrini-Mundy got her vaccine in early March at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor where she received the vaccine from a UMaine nursing student Stephanie Nichols. Under the photo of her and Nichols on Ferrini-Mundy’s Instagram page, she wrote that the vaccine was “an easy, painless process” and she was honored to have a UMaine nursing student distribute the vaccine to her. By publicly sharing that she has received the vaccine and promoting its efficacy, Ferrini-Mundy can guide the UMaine community into making educated decisions regarding receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Additionally in an email sent out to students, Malloy shared his reasoning behind receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I got my shot to protect my family and coworkers and help end the pandemic. All of our presidents and the Dean of the Law School are getting vaccinated too,” Malloy said.
Both UMaine and the University of Maine at Machias are participating in a campaign organized by their school’s administration, called “This is Our Shot, Maine.” This campaign is designed to encourage students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated and to assist them in finding correct information on where to get the vaccine. In the April 9 Friday Futurecast, Ferrini-Mundy shared a list of vaccine sites in the area which can be found here and encouraged community members to consider using the Community Connecter bus to get to their vaccine appointments, as it is free with a MaineCard.
Additionally in an email sent out to all students, Malloy announced that a MaineCard would be accepted as a valid form of ID. This will make vaccines more accessible to people without a driver’s license or passport, which is the typical form of ID required.
Overall, increased vaccine eligibility for members of the UMaine community is a step toward resuming normalcy in Orono. It is important that everyone considers the possibility of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and seeks out the proper information.