LEWISTON — Only Androscoggin County school staff ages 60 and older will get COVID-19 vaccinations Saturday at Connors Elementary School because there will be fewer doses than expected.

The expectation last week was that teachers and other school staff of all ages in Androscoggin County could get shots at the clinic sponsored by St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. But on Monday it was learned only 600 Moderna doses from the state would be available, hospital spokesman Stephen Costello said.

That means the two-day clinic will be scaled to one day.

“It was not our decision to go only with 60 plus, that was the state’s decision,” Costello said. The reason is the limited supply and that older school workers are at higher risk of getting sicker from COVID than younger people, he said.

An additional 300 vaccines specifically for school workers 60 and older will be allocated at the March 17 clinic at the Auburn Mall sponsored by Central Maine Medical Center, Costello said.

“Between the two clinics, we should be able to cover all of the county’s school staff 60 and over,” he said. “If there are leftover doses at Saturday’s clinic, St. Mary’s is waiting to hear from the state who can receive those shots,” he said.

Costello and Lewiston School Department Superintendent Jake Langlais said they were disappointed only 600 vaccines are available.

“We’re adapting,” Langlais said. “We were hopeful to be able to target a larger group of staff.”

School workers were excited when they learned last week there would be a clinic for all ages, Langlais said as he was about to message his staff that for now the vaccines are limited to ages 60 and older. “Their perceptions may shift to frustration,” he said.

It isn’t clear now if there’ll be more vaccine clinics for school workers. If there’s a need, “we’re ready to help in any way we can,” Langlais said.

For Saturday’s clinic, it will be up to each county school district to hold sign-ups for those 60 years and older who don’t already have an appointment, he said.

Schools in Androscoggin County are located in Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon, Wales, Sabattus, Poland, Minot, Mechanic Falls, Turner, Leeds, Greene, Durham and Livermore.

Lisbon School Superintendent Rick Green said in an email Monday that his school department is still working out the details on scheduling vaccines. “We are very excited and grateful that our 60-plus staff will be able to receive their vaccinations as early as this Saturday,” he said.

He’s optimistic that all of his district’s 60-and-older staff will get their vaccine Saturday.

On Feb. 26 Gov. Janet Mills opened vaccine eligibility to 60 years and older. On March 3 she opened eligibility to all school and child care workers. However, with vaccine supplies tight, getting an appointment isn’t easy.

“It’s luck of the draw,” said Gardiner High School coach and math teacher Mike Gray, 41, who got his first shot Monday.

He explained how teachers in his department were familiar with the online vaccine system because they helped the elderly make appointments.

They figured out that one pharmacy in his area opened appointments at midnight, another at 7 a.m., he said

And, before making an online appointment, people need to set up an account with that pharmacy. Gray recommends setting up pharmacy accounts ahead of time, “because in the time it takes to set up an account, the appointments are gone.”

A statewide list of where to get a vaccine appointment is at Maine.gov.

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