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The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic upended everything from working from home, temporary or permanent layoffs and online schooling this spring.  What also got disrupted was Mainer's getting regular check-ups at local doctors' offices.

During the initial months of the coronavirus lock-down here in Maine, it was encouraged for children to continue getting their immunizations throughout the pandemic but, the fear of being around other people due to transmission of the virus had a lot of parents on edge and even prioritize to not get immunizations done and to wait it out.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention put out a press release on Friday about immunization clinics that will be set up around the State of Maine to help kids get caught up on their immunizations.

Starting this week, the Maine CDC is setting up 'catch-up' clinics to alleviate the need on primary care providers and parents to get kids caught up on their immunizations easily, conveniently and safely.

The program is asking for parents to contact their child's physician first to see if immunizations can be caught up by their provider.  If this is not possible or if the child does not have a primary provider, then parents can schedule an appointment with a 'catch-up clinic'.

These clinics are currently being offered in Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Lewiston and Portland with anticipated additions of Calais, Machias, Rockland, and Skowhegan.

These clinics will be available for visitation once or twice weekly, depending on the site and demand, and by appointment only to ensure proper distancing needs to prevent possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

To make an appointment, parents can call (207) 287-6730 or (207) 287-4112 and be sure you have the child's most recent up-to-date immunization record on hand when visiting the clinic.

The Maine CDC's annual report released in February found that childhood immunizations were already decreasing here in Maine prior to the pandemic.  School vaccination rates averaged at about 89% for the State of Maine, according to a report published to the Maine CDC website and updated in May 2020.  Herd immunity, the percentage of citizens that need to be immunized to suppress diseases, is met when 95% of the population is immunized.