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New England News

Vermont Governor’s COVID Briefing Focuses On Vaccine As First Shipments Arrive

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Vermont Statehouse (file)

Extending the state of emergency through January 15th, Vermont Governor Phil Scott provided his regular COVID-19 briefing today.  The majority of the session focused on the state’s initial receipt and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine.

Scott began by noting unfortunate milestone: Vermont has reached 100 deaths from the pandemic. The sad demarcation comes at the same time the first vaccines arrive in the state.  “We received the first 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and we’ll be receiving more today.  As part of our plan and in consultation with the CDC the first phase will be given to priority populations which includes high risk health care workers and residents of long term care facilities.  This is obviously very welcome news.  And while this is an important and promising milestone we still have months of hard work ahead.”

The UVM Medical Center received its first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday and on Tuesday afternoon livestreamed as the first Vermonter was vaccinated. UVM Health Network President and CEO John Brumsted said these first inoculations provide hope and pride.  “The women and men who receive these first doses represent thousands of health care heroes in every corner of Vermont that will be getting their vaccinations in the coming days and weeks. These health care heroes have every single day put their lives on the line to go to work to keep us healthy and safe. Now I’d like to turn this over to Dr. Steve Leffler who’s the President of the UVM Medical Center.”
Leffler:  “Our UVM Medical Center staff are represented by employees who are most at risk for coming in contact with the virus through their work.  I’d like to introduce the first Vermonter to get the vaccine: Cindy Wamsganz.”

Back in Montpelier at the governor’s briefing, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said half of the initial 1,950 doses had been delivered to the UVM Medical Center and the other half to the state vaccine depot. It was the first installment of the state’s weekly allocation.  “The Health Department has been allocated weekly shipments of 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine through December. We also expect to receive an equal number of the second dose in the coming weeks.  All those who receive a first dose will get their second dose 21 days later. And we have placed a preorder for the Moderna vaccine pending its approval by the FDA. This would bring our total amount of vaccine in the state to almost 34,000 doses.”

An allocation of 1,950 doses will ship later this week directly to Vermont pharmacies that have contracted with the federal government to administer the vaccine at long-term care facilities.

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