It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission love goes to nurses Maureen Giffin and Peggy Akers, who have joined Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley – also a nurse – in administering Covid-19 vaccinations to people in our island communities.
“What a pleasure and honor it is to work with two amazing dedicated nurses doing the island Covid Vaccine clinics on the islands,” said Sharon Daley. “There is no way I could do it without them. I’ve called and asked them, “Can you work this day?’, only to call back and changed the day due to vaccine not coming in. Still, their answer is always yes.
“I have called them with numerous questions,” Sharon continued. “Without fail they help me find the answers. Maureen and Peggy have been adaptable to climbing down ladders onto boats, flying on little planes when the wind is howling, and anything else they need to do.
“Most of all,” said Sharon, “they treat each person they meet with care and respect. I am honored to work beside them and call them friends.”
On remote Maine islands, a mission to vaccinate By Brian MacQuarrie Globe Staff,Updated March 9, 2021, 7:29 p.m.
MATINICUS, Maine — The two dozen winter residents of Matinicus Island, give or take a few, lined up off a muddy road, distanced and masked, many wearing the plaid flannel shirts, paint-spattered jeans, and fisherman’s waders that could pass for a uniform here.
It was COVID-19 vaccination day on Matinicus, which lies farther in the Atlantic Ocean than any other inhabited island of the United States. And everyone was welcome. All ages, all health conditions, and all who were motivated to protect one another in a remote place about 20 miles from the mainland.
“We know the virus can come with anybody,” said George Tarkleson, the 66-year-old town manager of the rugged island, whose population swells to about 125 in the summer.
Newsweek – U.S. COVID Vaccinations for Maine’s Remote Island Residents Arrive Via 74-Foot Boat BY JENNI FINK ON 3/9/21 AT 1:38 PM EST
A team of about 10 people is using a 74-foot vessel and their 100-plus years of relationship building to vaccinate some of Maine’s most remote island residents.
Islands off the coast of Maine swell with tourists in the summer, but the number of full-time residents can range from as little as a few dozen people to about 300. Traveling to the mainland to see a doctor can be a days-long trek, so the nonprofit Maine Seacoast Mission is setting up mobile vaccination clinics to bridge the health care gap.
“The weather on the ocean right now is at its roughest, so from that perspective it’s a little bit of a challenge,” John Zavodny, president of the nonprofit, told Newsweek. “[But] we have been there for these islands through generations of hope, success and struggle, and this isn’t even our first pandemic. We’re going to just keep going until everyone is vaccinated.”
NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — As we work to tell the big picture story of the Mission’s Covid-19 vaccination effort, we also want to make sure to capture the small moments. These are the moments that will bring texture and life to this historic initiative now and as we remember them. Here are some of the moments I will always remember from the first few vaccination trips.
I’ll think of Tammy, Swan’s Island EMT, managing parking in her bright yellow jacket and handing out carnations to all those who came to be vaccinated. A big smile and “thank you” from Tammy for a warm cup of tea on that wonderful windy first clinic day.
I won’t forget a Kubota 4×4 ride on Monhegan. Me in the front with Jess the EMT driving. Peggy, Sharon, and Maureen—our medical team—in the back. Bumps and laughter and racing back to the dock and the Laura B where crew and passengers waited patiently for us to finish every vaccination.
I will remember Barb on Islesford dancing from registration to waiting room to vaccine administration and back to waiting. Then finally gracefully gliding right out the door of the Neighborhood House. Victory sign waving, enormous smile beaming.
I’ll think of Dan and Christina on Matinicus. Dan joking that he cut in front of Christina because his hands were cold. Christina not being surprised when I told on him. Both clearly loving each other and so happy to receive the vaccine and our Mission vaccination stickers.
I will remember Mary and Katelyn, Cranberry Isles twenty-something EMT personnel, greeting every islander. Teasing some, more gentle with others, respectful of all.
And then there is Scott, a young Islesford lobsterman with piercing gray eyes, gently easing his grandmother Polly up with each required move. Scott, reassuring Polly that he has her “pogo stick” when he grabs the cane from where it fell.
Most of all, when I think of these first days I will always remember Douglas Cornman, Sharon Daley, and visiting nurses Maureen Giffin and Peggy Akers huddling and planning. Relentlessly. Joyfully. On Sunbeam. At the clinics. On the road. In the plane. CDC protocols, boat schedules, time, and tides to be managed and re-managed. These are the moments I’ll hang on to as this effort goes forward. These are the moments I will share when folks ask me what it was like. What an honor it is to be a small part of this historic work.
It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout of Mission love goes to MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor, ME and Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, ME for partnering with the Mission to get us the Covid-19 vaccine we’re using in our series of Maine island vaccination clinics.
The Mission is providing vaccination clinics on Swan’s Island, Great Cranberry Island, Islesford, Matinicus, Frenchboro, Monhegan, and Isle au Haut. The Mission island vaccine clinics are expected to continue for months, and are held in various community buildings on the islands.
Both Pen Bay Medical Center and MDI Hospital are making this possible.