All Vermont adults can sign up for vaccine by April 19
VERMONT — Gov. Phil Scott on Friday announce that all Vermonters will be eligible to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations by April 19.
At his semi-weekly press conference, Scott released the order in which the rest of the Green Mountain State residents will be allowed to get in line for a vaccine. The order is based on age.
Here is when Vermonters will be allowed to begin signing up for COVID-19 vaccinations:
Age 60+ …… March 25
Age 50+ …… March 29
Age 40+ …… April 5
Age 30+ …… April 12
Age 16+ …… April 19
Human Services Secretary Mike Smith urged Vermonters to create an account online at https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine before their age band date arrives. That will allow individuals to log onto the Department of Health website on the day their age band opens up and then sign up for a vaccination date more easily.
Initially state officials allowed the oldest Vermonters sign up for vaccination based on their status as front-line public service providers and then by their age, with the oldest people vaccinated first. Most recently, the state deviated from eligibility based on age bands to allow anyone age 16 and older who had underlying health conditions to get vaccinated.
“We are going back to age banding staging because they target those most vulnerable first and move through vaccinations most quickly and efficiently,” Scott said.
The governor emphasized that Vermont would not be fully out of the pandemic until everyone is vaccinated, which he said is targeted to be accomplished by July 1.
“This means everyone will be able to sign up by April 19, not everyone will be vaccinated at that time,” Scott said.
He said that a person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after they have received their last shot. The state estimates that everyone should be able to receive their vaccine shots by two months after their age band opens up — putting the last vaccinations being done in mid-June.
“When I say we want to have a more traditional Fourth of July, we don’t mean a cook-out with one other family; we mean a Fourth of July more like we’ve had in the past,” Scott said.
As of Friday, March 19, 166,000 Vermonter have been vaccinated: 77,300 have received one does, 88,000 have received their final dose, Secretary Smith said. That includes at least 11,000 educators who have been vaccinated in the past two weeks.
More than 83% of Vermonters age 70 and older have been vaccinated, and nearly 60% of Vermonters age 65-69 have been vaccinated.
Locally, 70 migrant farm workers in Addison County were vaccinated on Wednesday through the Open Door Clinic, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.
Asked if the state could handle the increased demand for vaccines as the balance of Vermonters are invited to sign up for vaccination, both Gov. Scott and Secretary Smith said the state has already been ramping up the capacity to put shots in arms. National Guard members have been added to the vaccination administration push, and the state has recently added or soon will add more pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Clinics as vaccination sites, Smith pointed out.
“We will be able to administer 35,000 doses a week soon. We’re already doing 7,000 doses a day right now so that’s not much of a lift,” Smith said.
While delivering the good news that more people will be vaccinated, state officials implored Vermonters to continue to follow health prevention guidelines. That means please continue to wear masks, provide social distance from people outside your household and wash your hands,
“We are in the final laps of this race against the pandemic, but we need to remember we are still in a race,” Scott said.
Dr. Levine pointed out that there had been a dramatic decrease in cases around the country, but that decrease has stalled and the coronavirus is very much still with us. He attributed the stalling in COVID case count decreases to two things:
1. people relaxing their adherence to transmission prevention steps, and
2. the spread of the variant strains of the coronavirus, including in Vermont.
“The pandemic has yet to disappear,” Levine stressed. “We really need to keep up preventions until vaccinations are done.”
Scott said that the virus will be with us for a long time, with positive cases over the next year or two. But with vaccinations Vermont should be able to return to “normal” after the Fourth of July.
Looking at the timeline for getting all Vermonters vaccinated, Scott addressed high school seniors:
“You should be able to have more traditional graduations. After your school was disrupted during your junior year and going through your senior year in this unusual fashion, you should be able to have a more traditional graduation.
“You deserve it.”
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