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New England News

Vermont Weekly COVID Briefing Focuses On Vaccinations

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC
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Vermont Statehouse

Vermont Governor Phil Scott held his weekly briefing Tuesday to update Vermonters on COVID-19. He said the state is in good shape and he has no plans to implement new or renewed coronavirus mandates.

The vaccination rate of eligible Vermonters has reached 85.1 percent. The state leads the nation in the number of its eligible population to have received at least one shot and has the lowest hospitalization rate in the nation. Governor Scott said the data shows that only 2 percent of Vermont cases since January have been among those fully vaccinated. Of the state’s fully vaccinated population, one-tenth of one percent have gotten the virus and only .004 percent have been hospitalized. Scott says that proves vaccines work.

“We know our high vaccination rate means we can and should be thinking differently about this virus and how we control it," Scott said. "And this is why we’re not changing our statewide guidance or adding new recommendations at this time. But we do want to remind folks of our current recommendations. Our top recommendation continues to be get vaccinated. Second: I want to clear up some misinformation I’ve seen around our school guidance. When schools open we’re asking all students, all teachers and all school employees to wear a mask for the first two to three weeks of school. They should stay required for all those not yet eligible for the vaccine. That means kids under 12.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine reviewed new vaccine guidance from the CDC that recommends those who are immunocompromised receive an additional dose of vaccine at least 4 weeks after an initial two-dose series.

”This isn’t really considered to be a booster," Levine said. "It’s really meant to provide opportunity for those in the immunocompromised group to mount a sufficient initial immune response. So that third dose is really just helping them complete a series. The eligible population is estimated to be approximately three percent of the U.S. adult population.”

Dr. Levine emphasized that an additional dose is currently only recommended for those with moderate or serious compromised immune systems. Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith added there are signals from federal officials that booster shots will eventually be available to the general population.

“As you may have read in the news this morning there is consideration under way at the federal level for recommending a wider distribution of booster shots," Smith said. "We have already been planning for this type of event. The federal government anticipates this effort would begin sometime around the middle to late September. We will have more on this in the upcoming weeks.”

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