Quietside legislators weigh in on who should get vaccine priority

SOMESVILLE Jan. 10,2021 – State Sen. Louie Luchini, who represents Maine’s District 7 which includes all of MDI, said in response to a question from QSJ that he would support moving those older than 65 into the same 1B group as those over 75, as long as the current distribution problems are resolved.

“If we can get the vaccine supply to states, I’d support prioritizing those over 65,” Luchini said. “Those are the people most at risk, and the demand is certainly there to vaccinate a large population quickly. (Moving them into the same group 1b as those over 75, instead of 1c).”

This was in response to QSJ’s question of whether he supported the “Florida Model.”

“By ‘Florida Model’, do you mean prioritizing over 65 after healthcare workers (rather than over 75)? ” Luchini asked and then answered in the affirmative with a few caveats.

“Supply of vaccine is a huge issue for Maine, and all states. But the federal government’s inability to quickly send it to states is incredibly problematic,” he said.

“Dr. Scott Gotleib (former Trump FDA Commissioner and Pfizer board member) said yesterday that the US has 35M vaccines on a shelf, and the federal government is essentially stockpiling vaccines faster than they’re distributing them,” Luchini wrote in an email this week. “I haven’t verified those numbers, but if true, it shows a logistical incompetence that could cost lives.”

State Rep. Lynn Williams, A Democrat who replaced the popular Brian Hubbell, said she does not support moving the Age 65 group up. “The improved health of this age group (60 is the new 40) makes it reasonable to hold off on vaccinating them until all of the 75+ are vaccinated, as well as essential workers.” she wrote in an email. “We can all voluntarily stay home or otherwise away from public settings; essential workers cannot.”

State Rep. Genevieve McDonald, who represents Tremont, said, “I don’t know what the Florida model is … I’m looking forward to Jan 20th when someone competent who will prioritize public health is leading our nation. I am hopeful at that time we’ll see increased efficiency in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine across the nation.”

Maine has the highest median age of any state.

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