Melody Hill, left, reacts after receiving the first COVID-19 shot at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington on Monday. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington on Monday, December 21. There were 500 doses administered throughout the week to staff who volunteered to participate. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) in Farmington received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Dec. 21. During the remainder of the week, 500 doses of the vaccine were administered to FMH staff.

Franklin Community Health Communications Director Jill Gray said in an email that the first doses of the Moderna vaccine would be given to staff who volunteer to participate.

“Since late summer, a MaineHealth system-wide coordinating committee has been monitoring the development of COVID-19 vaccines as well as communicating with and supporting our hospital committee, a collaborative of pharmacy, clinical, administrative, and employee health team members, who are working to assure that vaccine is administered on a voluntary basis to our staff,” Gray wrote.

While vaccine availability for the general public is not expected until spring or early summer, Gray said that the MaineHealth system is working on a plan to administer vaccines to patients. State and federal guidance will determine who is prioritized for the first round of vaccinations.

“Even after vaccination programs are well underway, you can expect to continue wearing masks and social distancing through 2021 and possibly longer—a time frame that depends on large portions of the population being vaccinated and the virus showing signs that it’s under control,” Gray said in an email.

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