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‘This mandate will not work for us': Maine EMS agencies want vaccine mandate reversed

Many EMS departments in the state are already short staffed, and officials say the vaccine mandate will exacerbate the situation

By Rachel Engel

JONESPORT, Maine — After Gov. Janet Mills announced a vaccine mandate for Maine’s healthcare workers, which includes EMS, some agencies are concerned the requirement will decimate staffing levels.

In Washington County, Eddie Morseide, director of Downeast EMS, said the October 1 deadline will make wait times worse for residents, NBC News Center Maine reported.

“You’ve already got a short-staffed EMS service in Washington County, and it’ll get a lot shorter,” he said. He estimates that 40% of his staff would not consent to receive the vaccine.

Moosabec Ambulance Service, which covers the towns of Jonesport and Beals, said roughly half of their staff would not get the vaccine.

Renee Gray, who runs Moosabec Ambulance Service, said the vaccine requirement is a nonstarter for her agency.

“This mandate will not work for us,” she said. “We need this to be reversed.”