Maine residents, age 70 and over, can sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at some local Walmart and Sam's Club stores.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew made the announcement during Tuesday's Maine CDC COVID media briefing. Registrations for vaccinations should begin Tuesday evening for appointments on Friday. Once the registration process is open, residents can find participating store information on the national Walmart/Sam's Club COVID-19 vaccine website.

Dr. Lambrew said that the vaccine supply being distributed by these locations will be separate from the amount being reported by the Maine CDC. Walmart and Sam's Club will only schedule as many appointments as doses they have on-hand. So anyone who doesn't immediately get an appointment should continue to check back.

Currently, Maine is in phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which means that it's currently available to residents age 70 and over. Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC explained, during the same media briefing, that the decision about how the vaccine is distributed begins with guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines are then presented to state health providers, who put together recommendations, which are then presented to Governor Janet Mills. The final decision about who gets the vaccine is determined by Governor Mills, whose priority is saving the most amount of lives possible. This is why the initial weeks of the rollout has focused on Maine's oldest residents, who are most at risk of complications from the virus.

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