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Nirav D. Shah Joins Rep. Pingree for President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union Address

Maine CDC Director Shah led Maine through the coronavirus pandemic and will soon join the U.S. CDC as principal deputy director


Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Nirav D. Shah will join Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) as her special guest for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 7. Director Shah, who helped to lead Maine through the coronavirus pandemic and oversaw the state’s widely successful vaccination program, will soon join the U.S. CDC as principal deputy director. 

“The people of Maine, myself included, would not have gotten through the COVID-19 pandemic without Dr. Shah. From the earliest days of the pandemic, Dr. Shah has been a calming, insightful, and empathetic voice of reason, putting science first and spearheading Maine’s extraordinary vaccination success. No other public health official in the country had their face on candy bars during a world-changing pandemic—but Dr. Shah did, because he is so beloved by Mainers,” said Pingree. “COVID taught us that preparedness is key, and while we will miss him deeply in Maine, Dr. Shah is a great choice to serve as second in command at U.S. CDC. I am truly honored to have him as my guest to President Biden’s State of the Union address.”

“I’m honored to join Congresswoman Pingree as her guest at this year’s State of the Union address. The partnership of Maine’s congressional delegation with Governor Mills’ Administration has been critical to saving lives and keeping Maine people healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Director Shah. “Representative Pingree has been instrumental in helping Maine CDC connect with her constituents and with federal resources to advance public health in Maine.” 

At the onset of the pandemic in Maine, Pingree hosted a telephone town hall on the government’s response to the coronavirus with Director Shah, which was attended by approximately 1,400 constituents. Over the following years of the pandemic, Pingree and the Maine Delegation worked to ensure federal funds were at the ready for a coordinated pandemic response and vaccine rollout. 

Under the leadership of Governor Janet Mills, Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, and Director Shah, Maine has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates and one of the lowest death rates, despite having one of the oldest populations in the nation. 

Every year, each member of Congress is permitted to invite one constituent to attend the president’s address. Last year, Pingree’s special guest was Yanina Nickless, a Ukraine native living in Kennebunkport. 



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