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Vermont COVID Briefing Includes Update On State Vaccination Goal

File photo: VT Gov. Phil Scott
WAMC/Pat Bradley
File photo: VT Gov. Phil Scott

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and his administration say the state is getting closer to the goal of reopening when 80 percent of residents get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith began Tuesday’s briefing noting that when the governor challenged residents to reach the 80-percent vaccination goal to reopen the state CDC data showed that 74.9 percent of the state’s eligible population had been vaccinated. Smith says over the weekend that number reached 78.9%. State officials doubted the accuracy and requested a review of the data.

“This review in collaboration with the CDC did find duplicate reporting in one batch of Veteran Affairs’ numbers reported late last week and in a limited number of independent pharmacies reported from April 6th through May 22nd," Smith said. "We confirmed this late yesterday.  We have corrected our reporting and asked the CDC to remove the duplicates. We have also updated our tracking and with these corrections in place the percentage of eligible Vermonters vaccinated currently stands at 76.9 percent.”

Smith said 17,250 Vermonters must receive their first dose for the state to reach the 80 percent goal.  

Department of Mental Health Commissioner Sarah Squirrell said the state is supporting increased access to youth summer recreational camps and enrichment programs. 

“While we often see these activities as just regular components of childhood and growing up we are learning more and more that these are essential brain building exercises that give our children and youth the best chance to thrive as adults," Squirrell said. "At the Governor’s Youth Summit earlier this year we heard directly from children and youth from across Vermont. They want to focus on socializing again. They want more time to play and to use their imagination and they advocated for more support and tools for their mental health.”

Scott, a Republican, participates with other governors on a conference call with the White House every Tuesday for an update on vaccine distribution to the states.  After he reported that the state’s allocation of Pfizer and Moderna will remain steady he turned to his 80-percent vaccination goal. 

“When we do hit 80-percent we’re not going to be satisfied," Scott said. "While it will be safe to remove restrictions at that point we’re still going to push hard to get as many Vermonters vaccinated as possible. Because with all the infrastructure we have in place and knowing the fall and winter may bring more transmission amongst the unvaccinated we want to get that unvaccinated number as low as we possibly can right now.”

Governor Scott announced he had signed a proclamation declaring Tuesday George Floyd Remembrance Day in Vermont. 

“Mr. Floyd’s death one year ago was a murder under the knee of a law enforcement officer who swore to keep us safe," the governor said. "His death was tragic and importantly sparked a national conversation about how to address racism, modernize law enforcement and more. I think it’s important we reflect on what we saw with our own eyes on this anniversary and make sure we continue this work.”

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