Lincoln Academy and LincolnHealth teamed up to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the school. The first clinic was held on Tuesday, May 18, and a second clinic is scheduled for Thursday, May 20.
The clinic is targeted at people ages 12-15 who are newly eligible for vaccination, but open to anyone, according to registered nurse Eric Duffy, director of the Lincoln Academy Health Center.
“There have only been about 10 clinics for middle and young high school students around the state so far and most of them have been in Southern Maine,” Duffy said. “We are happy to be able to provide this service to families in the Midcoast.”
Tuesday’s clinic gave 134 vaccinations, with another 120 registrations for Thursday. Recipients include Lincoln Academy and middle school students, as well as a steady flow of walk-ins of all ages.
Second doses will be given on Wednesday, June 9 and Thursday, June 10, just before school ends for the summer.
“It’s been really fun to see so many kids who want to do this,” said registered nurse Elsa Parsons, a LincolnHealth nurse who graduated from LA and is a current parent of a freshman. “They have been adamant — they want to see their friends and get back to normal.”
Tessa McNamara, of Westport Island, is 13-year-old eighth grade student at Great Salt Bay Community School who arrived for her vaccination on Tuesday, May 18 with her father, Jay McNamara. Her brother Oliver, a ninth grader at LA, was also vaccinated on Tuesday.
“I was more excited than nervous to get this, because I think things will change once I am vaccinated,” Tessa McNamara said. “I am hoping everything will be less strict this summer.”
Jonas Stepanauskus, 14, is an LA ninth grader from Nobleboro who was called down from class to get his first shot. While waiting the requisite 15 minutes before returning to class he said he hardly felt a thing.
“I was excited to get vaccinated because I want to hang out with friends again and not have to worry about getting COVID. This is probably the happiest I’ve ever been to get a shot,” Stepanauskus said.
Stepanauskus is planning a trip to Lithuania to see his father’s family this summer.
“If I wasn’t able to get this vaccine, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Lithuania. I haven’t seen my dad’s family in more than three years,” he said. “I am glad I am getting vaccinated so I can actually go.”
Anni Pat McKinney, program manager for the Coulombe for Center Health Improvement at LincolnHealth, helped organize the logistics of the clinic.
“Because of our close relationship with the school, we could jump on this opportunity quickly. This is the critical week to get this done if we want to get second shots in before the end of the school year,” McKinney said. “While our Boothbay clinic is still open, we know it is challenging for parents to get their kids in, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for families to get both shots in a familiar location.”
“Because of how the vaccine was rolled out to older age groups first, this younger age group is where we are currently seeing the most positive cases,” McKinney said, “so we are eager to get this group vaccinated.”
LincolnHealth is also hosting clinics at Medomak Valley High School, Wiscasset Middle High School, and Boothbay Region High School this week.
“We estimate that there are 2,300 adolescents (in) the 12-plus age group in Lincoln County, and we are trying to reach all of them!” McKinney said.
Cindy Wade, president of LincolnHealth and a graduate of Lincoln Academy, was present on Tuesday morning to help out with the clinic.
“The partnership with Lincoln Academy has been fantastic,” Wade said. “We are excited to be able to be here with the team and the students here at LA. We are happy to have walk-ins when we have these clinics at the schools and in Boothbay in order to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
A registered nurse herself, Wade jumped in to give vaccines as needed.
“I am here to do anything I can to help,” she said.
The clinic is set up in the LA gym and staffed with four vaccinators, four support staff, and 20 tables.
“We can vaccinate at least a dozen people at a time, so there is plenty of room,” Duffy said. “We hope to see another hundred or more people on Thursday. Walk-ins are welcome, with minimal wait time!”
“This is a great partnership,” said LA Head of School Jeff Burroughs. “We are happy to be able to use our facility to help as many young people as possible get vaccinated, so we can help get life and school back to normal. We are grateful to LincolnHealth for making this clinic happen in a safe and accessible way for local families.”