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Booster Shots And School Contact Tracing Among The Topics Discussed During Governor Scott’s Weekly Briefing

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley
The Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier

The Vermont Agency of Education and the state Health Department are releasing revised recommendations for contact tracing in schools. That was one announcement during Governor Phil Scott’s weekly briefing Tuesday afternoon.

Vermont’s Republican governor participates with the National Governors Association biweekly status call with White House officials on the pandemic. Governor Scott said the CDC director discussed COVID-19 booster shots.

“The FDA advisory committee will be meeting on Friday to discuss the Pfizer shots for boosters. Moderna and J&J are expected at a later date. Then the full FDA will take the advisory committee recommendation before CDC issues its formal recommendations on boosters. They are currently working to manage their inventory in anticipation of increased demand if the Pfizer booster is approved," Governro Scott said. "The FDA and CDC are currently doing studies on mixing and matching vaccines from different manufacturers and hopes to have recommendations on that as well very soon.”

Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith added that when the FDA authorizes COVID boosters Vermont will distribute them the same way as the first doses of the vaccine.

“We anticipate that the first people eligible to get booster doses will be health care workers and those who work and live in long term care facilities. After this first group we’ll turn to providing booster doses to the general population. At that point Vermonters should expect to start hearing about larger vaccination sites," Smith said. "We are not currently taking appointments for booster shots for the general public. We will have more clarity once the federal government provides us guidance.”

The Vermont Agency of Education and the state Health Department are releasing revised recommendations for contact tracing in schools. Education Secretary Dan French says they are trying to make the process more responsive to the faster spreading delta variant.

“Central to our changes is enabling schools to move more quickly to identify students who are vaccinated. Previously schools had to wait for vaccination status to be confirmed by the Health Department. We are now going to enable schools to use their local vaccination information to make this determination. We are also providing recommendations for common areas such as cafeterias, school buses and playgrounds." French added, "The recommendation to test rather than quarantine is a central feature of our revised recommendations. When a student is not a close contact and their exposure status is uncertain we are recommending testing as the first strategy rather than quarantining.”

As of Tuesday 87 percent of eligible Vermonters have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 77.8 percent of all eligible Vermonters are fully vaccinated.

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