The Lincoln Academy gym is the latest site for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic sponsored by Lincoln Health. The clinic will be open again for first shots on May 20, and for second shots on June 9 and 10.

Lincoln Academy and Lincoln Health are hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Tuesday, May 18 and Thursday, May 20. The clinic is targeted at 12-15-year-olds who are newly eligible for vaccination, but open to anyone, according to Eric Duffy RN, the Director of the Lincoln Academy Health Center.

“There have only been about 10 clinics for middle and young high school students around the state so far,” said Duffy, “and most of them have been in Southern Maine. We are happy to be able to provide this service to families in the midcoast.”

Tuesday’s clinic gave 134 vaccinations, with another 120 registrations for Thursday. Recipients include Lincoln Academy and middle school students, as well as a steady flow of walk-ins of all ages. Second doses will be given on June 9 and 10, just before school ends for the summer.

“It’s been really fun to see so many kids who want to do this,” said Elsa Parsons, RN, a Lincoln Health nurse who graduated from LA and is a current parent of a freshman. “They have been adamant–they want to see their friends and get back to normal.”

Tessa McNamara, 13, receives her COVID-19 vaccine at the Lincoln Academy/Lincoln Health clinic

Great Salt Bay 8th grader Tessa McNamara (center) with her father, Jay McNamara (right), gets vaccinated by Lincoln Health nurse and LA parent Angela Russ RN.

13-year-old Tessa McNamara of Westport Island is an 8th grader at GSB who arrived for her vaccination on May 18 with her father, Jay McNamara. Her brother Oliver, a ninth grader at LA, was also vaccinated on Tuesday. “I was more excited than nervous to get this, because I think things will change once I am vaccinated,” said Tessa. “I am hoping everything will be less strict this summer.”

Jonas Stepanauskas, 14, is an LA ninth grader from Nobleboro who was called down from class to get his first shot. While waiting the requisite 15 minutes before returning to class he said he hardly felt a thing. “I was excited to get vaccinated because I want to hang out with friends again and not have to worry about getting COVID. This is probably the happiest I’ve ever been to get a shot.” Jonas is planning a trip to Lithuania to see his father’s family this summer. “If I wasn’t able to get this vaccine, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Lithuania. I haven’t seen my dad’s family in more than three years. I am glad I am getting vaccinated so I can actually go.”

LA ninth grader Jonas Stepanauskas gets his shot from Lincoln Health nurse and LA parent Angela Russ

LA ninth grader Jonas Stepanauskas gets vaccinated by Lincoln Health nurse Angela Russ RN at the LA vaccination clinic on Tuesday, May 18. The clinic will continue for a second day on Thursday, May 20.

Anni Pat McKinney is Program Manager for the Coulombe for Center Health Improvement at Lincoln Health, and is helping to organize the logistics of the clinic. “Because of our close relationship with the school, we could jump on this opportunity quickly. This is the critical week to get this done if we want to get second shots in before the end of the school year. While our Boothbay clinic is still open, we know it is challenging for parents to get their kids in, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for families to get both shots in a familiar location.”

“Because of how the vaccine was rolled out to older age groups first, this younger age group is where we are currently seeing the most positive cases,” said McKinney, “so we are eager to get this group vaccinated.”

Lincoln Health is hosting clinics at all four Lincoln County high schools this week: Medomak Valley, Wiscasset, and Boothbay in addition to Lincoln Academy. “We estimate that there are 2300 adolescnets the 12-plus age group in Lincoln County, and we are trying to reach all of them!” McKinney said.

LA Head of School Jeff Burroughs (left) and Lincoln Health President Cindy Wade (right) at the vaccination clinic at Lincoln Academy on May 18.

LA Head of School Jeff Burroughs (left) and Lincoln Health President Cindy Wade (right) at the vaccination clinic at Lincoln Academy on May 18.

Cindy Wade is the President of Lincoln Health and a Lincoln Academy graduate. She was present on Tuesday morning to help out with the clinic. “The partnership with Lincoln Academy has been fantastic,” said Wade. “We are excited to be able to be here with the team and the students here at LA. We are happy to have walk-ins when we have these clinics at the schools and in Boothbay in order to vaccinate as many people as possible.” A registered nurse herself, Wade jumped in to give vaccines as needed. “I am here to do anything I can to help!”

The clinic is set up in the LA gym and staffed with four vaccinators, four support staff, and 20 tables. “We can vaccinate at least a dozen people at a time, so there is plenty of room,” said Nurse Duffy. “We hope to see another hundred or more people on Thursday. Walk-ins are welcome, with minimal wait time!”

“This is a great partnership,” said LA Head of School Jeff Burroughs. “We are happy to be able to use our facility to help as many young people as possible get vaccinated, so we can help get life and school back to normal. We are grateful to Lincoln Health for making this clinic happen in a safe and accessible way for local families.”

Below: LA Health Center Director Eric Duffy RN (left) and Lincoln Health Nurse Amanda Millay RN (right) help out at the vaccination clinic.