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Vermont Officials Promote Vaccinations During COVID Update

Vermont Statehouse (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Vermont Statehouse (file)

During Vermont’s regular Tuesday COVID-19 briefing, administration officials discussed the success of vaccine distribution and walk-in clinics that are being conducted across the state.

With Republican Governor Phil Scott on a weekly conference call with other governors and the White House to get an update on national vaccine distribution plans, the state briefing began with Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith noting that Vermont now ranks first in the nation for vaccines administered per 100,000 people. Smith encouraged those who have not received the shot to get inoculated.  

“This is quite an accomplishment," Smith said. "But we still have more work to do.  We are transitioning our vaccination program to not only provide the mass vaccination sites that you have grown accustomed to but also to provide more opportunities for walk ins and pop up clinics at venues such as colleges, work sites, fairgrounds and speedways. In the future we are also considering areas where people may assemble for other activities. This is done in an attempt to get as many people vaccinated as possible by making it easy and convenient.”

Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak provides weekly modeling tracking the course of the virus. He reported an improving trend across the country, region and state.

“The vaccines’ really beginning to demonstrate their power to end this awful pandemic if we continue to step up and get vaccinated," Pieciak said. "Further Vermont continues to lead the country in per capita testing both over the last seven days and the last thirty days. Looking ahead the new regional forecast projects decreasing case trends in each jurisdiction neighboring Vermont over the next six weeks, decreasing to levels that we have not seen since last summer, painting a very optimistic picture for the Northeast and for Vermont in the weeks to come.”

When Governor Scott joined the briefing he said governors were told allocations of vaccines would remain relatively steady. Vermont will not receive an increased supply next week. But he added a change was announced in the ordering process that he feels is good news. 

“Which would entail creating a federal pool which may allow us to order above our maximum allocation if there are doses that don’t get ordered by other states which we believe will be case," Scott said. "Previously we couldn’t order more than our maximum. So if we can keep up demand in Vermont this could be extremely beneficial to us.”

Scott explained that the state has been receiving doses based on population.  

“What they had said is you could ask for as much as 50 percent more on a weekly basis," the governor said. "And it really does depend on how much is in the federal pool. So I think this is an improvement of the system. If it’s not being used in other areas we would then just make the ask and we would get that the following week and we would know with a day or two whether they could commit to that.”

Topics during the question and answer session included details on walk-in clinics, anticipated youth vaccinations and the role of schools, plus the end of the legislative session.

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