The owners of Scarborough Downs are donating the grandstands at the racetrack, so it can be used as a high volume vaccination clinic.

Live harness racing was halted at the southern Maine track in November of 2020, after many successful decades of sports entertainment. Now the owners, Crossroads Holdings, have donated the indoor grandstands to help get the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Construction crews began working last week, retrofitting the building into a clinic that the Portland Press Herald reports could, potentially, vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day. The renovations should be completed by the end of January.

The challenge in delivering that many vaccinations will be to get the serum into Maine in those quantities. As the vaccine rollout continues, health officials are hoping that the deliveries to Maine will increase in size, so even more people can be protected against a virus that has already infected over 36,000 residents, and killed 536 of them. (as of 1/21/2022)

Because of the small amount of vaccines arriving in the state, the Maine CDC is limiting who can receive the shots. Right now, they're registering people age 70 and over. Pre-registration is required and can be done online. The current COVID-19 vaccine comes in two doses, so residents will need to return for a second shot. Dr. Nirav Shah, Executive Director of the Maine CDC, said this week that older Mainers can feel free to hug their grandchildren again, once they've had both doses of the vaccine. He does advise, however, that they wait 10 to 14 days after getting the second shot and wear a mask during the hug.

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