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Vermont Officials Emphasize Vaccinations During COVID Briefing

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

Vermont Governor Phil Scott says the state is outperforming the nation in getting residents vaccinated against COVID-19, but work remains as reopening nears.

Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith began Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing with an update on a change in vaccination protocols in Vermont. 

“Beginning this Thursday I want to announce that we are removing the residency requirement for vaccination," Smith said. "This means that anyone age 12 and older who lives in Vermont or is visiting Vermont can get vaccinated in this state. You do not have to be a part time resident.”

On Tuesdays Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak presents weekly modeling tracking the course of the virus in the state and across the country. He said for the second week in a row Vermont leads the nation in four CDC vaccination metrics.  

“Total doses administered, the percent of our population with at least one dose, and the percent of those 65 and older who have started and also who have completed vaccination," Pieciak said. "Looking at the region conditions are improving around us in the Northeast. Over the last five weeks cases in the region have fallen 70 percent. And probably most importantly the Northeast is leading the nation in the uptake of the vaccine with all six of the New England states in the top ten on the percent of their population having started vaccination. This means that we expect favorable trends to continue and our regional forecast anticipates that cases will fall in the next six weeks to the lowest levels that we have experienced during the pandemic.”

Governor Scott joined the briefing after completing a weekly call with governors, the White House and the CDC director on the agency’s change in mask guidance. 

“CDC Director Dr. Walensky talked a lot about the confidence in vaccines," Scott said. "She said and I quote there’s an overwhelming amount of data that shows how effective they are and that’s why fully vaccinated people can safely participate in activities without masking. She made clear this was a decision driven by the science.”

Scott said the CDC emphasized that vaccinated individuals are protected and at low risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. 

“Because of our vaccination rate and other factors no state in the country is in a better and safer position than Vermont to begin transitioning back to normal," the governor said. "In fact if Vermont was its own country we’d have one of the highest vaccination rates in the entire world. But we can and need to do better. And we’re going to do everything continue to do everything we can to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people to get their shots.”

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