SCARBOROUGH – Just just a few moments after he obtained his COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday, Robyn Goshorn was requested how he felt.

“Grateful to be here,” the 73-year-old from South Portland mentioned. “And a little guilty too, I guess, to think of all the people who are still waiting. But we have a wise physician friend who said if you have the chance to get the vaccine, get it.”

Goshorn and his spouse, Alice, 79, have been the primary to be vaccinated at a mass clinic at Scarborough Downs, the primary such site in southern Maine. MaineHealth, the mum or dad group of Maine Medical Center and a number of different hospitals and practices, partnered with Crossroads Holdings, the corporate that has been redeveloping the 500-acre former harness racing venue. Retrofitting the previous grandstand right into a 30,000-square-foot clinic was a herculean 15-day effort that concerned greater than 40 firms and value $1 million.

“Today’s opening is really all about community partnerships and the intense desire Mainers have to take care of their fellow Mainers,” MaineHealth CEO Bill Caron mentioned throughout a short ceremony previous to the opening. “We hope that at some point, upwards of 300,000 Mainers will receive a vaccination by walking through that front door. That’s the scale we’re trying to accomplish.”

Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew was readily available as nicely and mentioned the launch of the Scarborough Downs site, and others prefer it, is the results of “intense work, planning, logistics and sacrifice.”

“Today’s excitement is not the same as that which has historically brought people to this place,” she mentioned. “Instead, it is the excitement of hope.”

Alice Goshorn, 79, of South Portland prepares to get the primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Andrea Lai at a mass vaccination clinic on the former Scarborough Downs Racetrack. Alice and her husband Robyn Goshorn, 73, have been the primary two folks to get vaccinated on the newly opened clinic. Staff picture by Derek Davis Buy this Photo

Aside from the Goshorns, who agreed to be vaccinated earlier within the day as a part of a media availability organized by MaineHealth, one other 114 appointments have been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Among them was Robert Powers, 82, who drove up from Waterboro in York County.

“I called two or three times and just got a recording that said call again,” he mentioned previous to his vaccination. “Then I called the next morning and got right through to someone and scheduled it. I got lucky.”

Many Mainers have skilled frustration in attempting to line up an appointment through the early rollout.

Powers, who’s widowed and lives alone, mentioned life hasn’t modified an excessive amount of for him over the past 10 months. He goes out to eat loads much less.

“I’m glad to get it over with,” he mentioned of the vaccine.

The Scarborough Downs site might be open for the foreseeable future, day-after-day besides Sunday, and finally will have the ability to accommodate 1,500 to 2,000 vaccinations per day, contingent on provide.

Maine and different states have been getting extra doses of vaccines over the past two weeks and manufacturing is anticipated to proceed growing. Lambrew mentioned the state acquired a rise final week of 16 p.c and subsequent week it is going to obtain one other 5 p.c on high of that.

“It’s still not enough,” she mentioned.

As of Wednesday morning, at the very least 120,000 Mainers had gotten their first dose and greater than 41,000 people, or about 3 p.c of the grownup inhabitants, have obtained each doses of both the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Northern Light Health, the mum or dad firm of Eastern Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital and others, launched its personal mass vaccination site this week on the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. It expects to manage 1,800 pictures by week’s finish. Other websites throughout the state are within the planning phases.

Vaccinations have been occurring at smaller websites for weeks now as Maine has moved into Phase 1B of its vaccination plan. Gov. Janet Mills has directed clinics to prioritize these 70 and older whereas provide stays restricted.

Scarborough was location for a mass clinic, Caron mentioned, due to its location between northern York County and southern Cumberland County, the place a big share of the state’s inhabitants lives.

SCARBOROUGH – Just just a few moments after he obtained his COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday, Robyn Goshorn was requested how he felt.

JoAnne Chapman, proper, takes a bunch of medical professionals by means of the method of COVID-19 vaccination throughout a coaching train on the former Scarborough Downs Racetrack, which has been transformed right into a mass vaccination clinic. Staff picture by Derek Davis Buy this Photo

Bill Perry, 74, of Wells was among the many first appointments early Wednesday afternoon. He arrived a few half hour early along with his spouse, Rose, who at 69, simply missed the age cutoff.

“I called for three days and all I got was ‘there’s nothing available,’” he mentioned. “The fourth time I called in, I got into an automated system to register. Then they called me about a week later and I got scheduled. I didn’t know what to expect, none of us know.”

For many older Mainers, their first shot represents a glimmer of hope {that a} return to normalcy is likely to be doable, though Perry has tempered expectations.

“We are never going to go back to the normal we once knew, with or without the shot,” he mentioned.

Robyn Goshorn had a distinct outlook.

“We don’t plan to change our behavior, but it certainly feels like there is a future to look forward to,” he mentioned.

The Goshorns have been extraordinarily cautious through the pandemic. They haven’t gone out to eat or visited with mates. They haven’t even taken communion at their church in practically a 12 months.

“We’re totally lucky, we have what we need, we have a nice place to be,” he mentioned. “But the isolation is hard.”

Their first grandchild was born final April. He lives in Chicago along with his dad and mom, and the Goshorns lengthy for the day they will go to him in individual.

Alice Goshorn mentioned she felt just a little unusual getting the vaccination as a result of she is aware of her life isn’t going to alter in a single day, and she cited recommendation usually provided by the director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I just hear Dr. (Nirav) Shah’s message in my ear all the time, ‘Be patient. Be patient,’” she mentioned, pausing for a second. “So, I’m trying to be patient.”

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