LEWISTON — St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center will hold a daylong COVID-19 vaccination clinic Saturday, April 24, at the Longley School.

The 800 doses of Moderna vaccine is less than the 2,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine expected for St. Mary’s previously planned mass vaccination clinic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control paused use of the latter after six women developed rare but serious blood clots after being injected.

St. Mary’s spokesman Steve Costello said hospital officials were pleased to offer the smaller number of Moderna vaccines to the neighborhoods near the city’s downtown. “We’re in the process of working with downtown coalitions to give them time to get their affiliated people in and signed up for vaccinations,” he said. One targeted population will be the Somali community and other new Mainers, he said.

Later on Monday, the hospital will offer signups on its website for anyone interested in getting a vaccine Saturday, at www.stmarysmaine.com.

“It’s not a direct appointment,” Costello said. People will sign up “and we will be in contact with them.” Anyone signing up should be sure to include their current phone number.

The 800 doses will be first doses. The Moderna vaccine requires two inoculations weeks apart to be fully effective.

Since the Longley School clinic is one day only, “we will work with those patients to ensure they receive their second dose,” Costello said.

The hope is that all 800 appointments “fill up quickly. The need is great,” Costello said.

On Monday, the Maine Center for Disease Control announced two additional deaths from COVID-19, both were Oxford County men: one between 40 and 49 years old and the other between 50 and 59.

Also on Monday, statistics showed the rate of positive tests of COVID-19 in Androscoggin County remained the highest of Maine’s 16 counties: 6.02% compared to the state average of 4.3%. Oxford County’s rate was 5.14%; Franklin’s was 3.82%.

Costello said he hopes the COVID-19 cases will soon plateau and go down. At St. Mary’s hospital, “we peaked with the highest number last week at 12 COVID hospitalized patients. We’re down to seven today,” he said.

“The last time we had 12 patients that were positive was Feb. 1, and that was the most we’ve had since April of 2020,” he said.

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