The state of Maine is fast tracking its vaccination schedule which will make more people eligible starting Tuesday.

Nearly a year after the state recorded its first COVID-19 case Gov. Janet Mills on Friday said that all Maine residents age 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccination starting Tuesday. Beginning Monday, April 19 all Maine residents age 16 and older will eligible for vaccination.

"Maine has been working around the clock to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. As we continue to make progress, and with more appointments becoming available and an increase in supply expected in the coming weeks, we believe it is appropriate to accelerate our timeline and make more people eligible earlier,” Mills said.

Over 352,000 Maine residents, or 26% of the state's population have received their first shot of the vaccine with nearly 16 percent being fully vaccinated with both required doses.

With the country's oldest median age population Maine has distributed the vaccine based on age rather than occupation, according to Mills.

The state has large vaccination sites in Portland, Sanford and Auburn that can expand their capacity once supply becomes available.

In the seacoast of Maine vaccines are available at several retail locations including:

  • Hannaford in Biddeford, Kennebunk, Saco, Wells and York - Appointments can be made at hannaford.com/pharmacy/covid-19-vaccine
  • Walgreens in Buxton, Cornish, Kennebunk and Springvale - Appointments can be made at walgreens.com/schedulevaccine or by calling 800-WALGREENS
  • Walmart in Biddeford and Sanford - Appointments can be made at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine
  • York Hospital in Kittery - Appointments can be made at yorkhospital.com/vaccines or by calling 207-752-8685

Appointments are required for all vaccinations.

Previously vaccination for residents aged 50 and older was scheduled to begin on April 1, 2021, and for all adults on May 1, 2021.

In New Hampshire 55,000 individuals eligible under Phase 2A can now make appointments on the state website at vaccines.nh.gov

Phase 2A in New Hampshire includes:

  • K-12 schools
  • Licensed child care settings
  • License-exempt settings enrolled with the NH DHHS – Bureau of Child Development
  • Municipal or other recreation programs providing before and/or after school, vacation, or summer youth programming
  • Head Start and Early Head Start Programs
  • Licensed youth camps

Eligibility will grow even more on Monday when any individual between age 50 and 64 will be able to make appointments starting at 8 a.m. Those first vaccinations will be given on Thursday, March 25.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.