Governor Mills chats with students waiting for their vaccine

Governor Mills Visits Morse High School Vaccination Clinic

Bath, ME (November 18, 2021) – Governor Janet Mills paid a visit to Morse High School in Bath on Friday morning for the school’s first COVID-19 vaccination clinic open to RSU1 students 5 years of age and older.

The clinic was operated by MidCoast Hospital under the onsite supervision of Jessie Chalmers, Community Health Program Coordinator, and CHANS Staff Nurse Avanel Payne, RN, BSN. 

“This is the third school clinic we’ve held this year,” Payne said. “The children did very well, even though their parents aren’t with them.”

Payne said she believes that vaccination will help keep students in school; important not only for their education, but also preventing isolation. “I’ve been a pediatric nurse for a long time. Social development is as important as educational development,” she said. “The more people who are vaccinated, the sooner we’ll get out of this.”

On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years or age and older. As of October 29, the vaccine was made available, under emergency use authorization, for individuals 5 years of age and older. Morse held two vaccination clinics last spring for students 12 years of age and older with around 100 vaccinations given per clinic. Another 100 vaccinations were given today.

Governor Mills visited with students as they waited for their shots.

“I remember when I was a kid getting the polio shot in a school like this only it wasn’t nearly as welcoming and friendly - you stood in line in a cold hallway and got the shot,” she said. “This was much more welcoming.”

RSU1 Assistant Superintendent Katie Joseph said the school district chose to host clinics during the school day to remove barriers for parents who want their children to receive the vaccine. “It is very important that, should a family choose to vaccinate their student, they can access this opportunity regardless of their work schedule, the availability of a vehicle, and relationship with a primary care doctor,” she said. “Equal access to health care and other student services is something that RSU 1 cares about deeply for its entire community.”

Governor Mills commended the students for choosing to receive the vaccine. “They’re keeping safe and they’re going to keep their families safe,” she said. “The message I gave to them if there was any anxiety was the one Christopher Robin gave Winnie the Pooh. ‘Always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.’ And those kids are strong, smart, and brave.”

Said Patrick Manuel, RSU1 Superintendent: “Thank you to everyone involved for a successful vaccine clinic today. I certainly appreciate the time and effort that went into planning this event. A special thank you to Katie Joseph, our assistant superintendent, Mid Coast Hospital, RSU 1 nursing staff, office personnel, and our maintenance and technology departments.”


Clinician Katie Huntington prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine

Clinician Katie Huntington prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine

Governor Mills with Jessie Chalmers, Midcoast Hospital Community Health Program Coordinator, and volunteer Arthur Pierce, retired school superintendent