Governor Janet Mills is now requiring that all Maine healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The mandate does not come as a surprise to healthcare workers after Mills announced earlier this week that her administration was seriously considering making it a requirement. The decision follows outbreaks of COVID-19 in two Maine hospitals among staff members. Healthcare workers will now have to get a COVID-19 vaccination in the next five weeks.

According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, included under the term "healthcare workers" are any individuals employed by:

  • Hospitals
  • Multi-level health care facilities
  • Home health agencies
  • Nursing facilities
  • Residential care facilities
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities that is licensed by the state of Maine
  • Emergency medical service organizations
  • Dental practices

Exempt from this ruling are school nurses, according to Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

This move places Maine as one of the most aggressive states in the nation in requiring vaccinations of healthcare workers. Governor Mills says the vaccination remains one of the best tools we have against COVID-19.

Health care workers perform a critical role in protecting the health of Maine people, and it is imperative that they take every precaution against this dangerous virus, especially given the threat of the highly transmissible Delta variant. With this requirement, we are protecting health care workers, their patients, including our most vulnerable, and our health care capacity.

Mills went on to encourage all residents, who are not yet vaccinated, to do so soon to protect themselves and others. The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has become widespread in the state.

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Maine already requires employees of designated health care facilities to be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, and influenza. That rule is now amended to include COVID-19.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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