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Maine Seacoast Mission Establishes Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics on Maine Islands
NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME – Continuing its century long tradition of bridging the health care gap among the island communities it serves, Maine Seacoast Mission is providing island Covid-19 vaccination clinics starting the week of February 22. Medical and support staff, led by Mission Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley, will travel primarily aboard the Mission’s 74-foot boat, Sunbeam.
“Everything I’m doing seems to be Covid related, and it’s been a real rollercoaster ride for the last week,” said Sharon Daley. “Thanks to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and MDI Hospital, I have an initial 150 vaccines to take out.
“Island Outreach Director Douglas Cornman has been working seven days and nights a week registering people,” Sharon continued. “We have to have an accurate count for each island. And we have to figure out rotation of the islands so we’re not ending up short of vaccines or with vaccines left over.
“I have a couple of great nurses who are going with me. I can’t wait to go on the boat and start doing this,” she said.
The Mount Desert Island based Mission is working in partnership with island residents, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, county officials, Mount Desert Island Hospital, and Pen Bay Medical Center.
The Mission is planning to support vaccination clinics on these islands: Swans, Great Cranberry, Islesford, Matinicus, Frenchboro, Monhegan, and Isle au Haut. Daley, Cornman, and Sunbeam Captain Michael Johnson are scheduling vaccination trips, remembering that the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose approximately 28 days after the first.
The Mission island vaccine clinics are expected to continue for months, and held in various community buildings on the islands.
The Mission boat and crew are well-prepared for this assignment. The first Sunbeam trip after the boat’s recent refit was to conduct flu clinics under Covid restrictions. The Sunbeam is equipped with health facilities including a medical grade refrigerator.
“We have been anticipating this opportunity to serve since the first vaccine was announced last fall. In many ways, the Mission has been preparing for this moment for over a century,” said Mission President John Zavodny.”
Since 1905, the Maine Seacoast Mission has supported communities in some of Maine’s most isolated villages and islands. The Mission connects people to each other, to education, to food, and to wellness.
It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission love goes to our Thinklab friends in Colorado.
Many people first learned of the power of telemedicine — the art of providing health services by internet — when outdated federal restrictions were lifted in the fight against Covid-19. Yet, telemedicine has been a part of Maine Seacoast Mission’s work among remote island communities for several decades.
Just within the last few years, advances in telemedicine equipment have enabled Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley, RN to carry across the islands 12-pounds of gear offering as many health options as Sharon’s equipment aboard the Mission’s 74-foot Sunbeam.
More recently, Thinklabs gifted four island elder care homes digital telemedicine stethoscopes. The Thinklabs One stethoscope is called “the smallest most powerful stethoscope in the world.” The stethoscope data is deliverable in real time to medical doctors or other health professionals on the mainland, which, in turn, saves elder patients time, travel, and expense.
State to State, this is what community looks like.
‘Sunbeam’ crew photo not part of original Free Press Online story.
from Offshore: An Adjusted Holiday
by Eva Murray
Tuesday, December 29, 2020 8:16 AM
The Saturday before Christmas brought a calm day — itself something special — and the Maine Seacoast Mission vessel Sunbeam to our harbor. Recently sprung from a long stay at the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, the Sunbeam had all sorts of nice interior refits and renovations, none of which were shown off to us on account of — well, you get it.
Instead, captain and engineer, nurse and chaplain (the steward being off that day) brought cookies and hot chocolate out onto the wharf, and those of us loitering around had what you might call a tailgate party with the crew. It was a nice chance to wish a happy Christmas through our masks to Mike, Storey, Sharon and Douglas, and indirectly to Jillian who we assume baked the cookies, and to acknowledge that holiday celebrations in the time of coronavirus might still be hopeful.
The Sunbeam, with its string of Christmas lights high overhead, started away before dark having four hours yet to steam home to Mt. Desert. They left their traditional white-paper-and-red-string-wrapped presents for the littles — a custom that has lasted a century.