Vermonters 65 and up will be able to sign up for a COVID vaccine starting next week.
Republican Governor Phil Scott arrived at Tuesday's briefing late after attending a virtual conference call with the National Governors Association and the White House to receive a weekly briefing on vaccine distribution. He reports that federal officials are increasing vaccine allocations to each state.
“Last week the national allocation of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines was 13.5 million and this week they announced that that will increase to 14.5 which will mean about a thousand more doses for Vermont," Scott said. "The White House also guaranteed that this will be a minimum supply for the next three weeks.”
Scott also said officials hope that Johnson & Johnson will receive emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine within the week.
“If they’re approved the first week we could expect about two million doses to be distributed split with the same per capita strategy as current vaccines," the governor said. "This would mean about two thousand more doses per week from Johnson & Johnson out of the gate for Vermont. However they couldn’t commit to a steady supply over three weeks. They weren’t sure whether that could be maintained or not. But they also added that they anticipate 20 million doses by the end of March. Which didn’t make a lot of sense to me but we’ll stay tuned and see what that means if they’re approved.”
Vermont is vaccinating its population based on a tiered age system with the oldest receiving the vaccine first. Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith announced that registration for another age group opens next week.
“On Monday, March 1st Vermonters 65 years old and above will be able to make an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccination," Smith said. "I encourage this group to go online at healthvermont.gov/myvaccine and set up an account ahead of time. And when the next age band, next Monday March 1st when it opens up, you can simply go onto the website you’re already registered and then you pick your time, date and place for your vaccine. It seems to be the simplest. It seems to be easy to use and most people get right on right away with no trouble.”
Vermonters and visitors who can prove they have been fully vaccinated can now travel in the state without quarantine. Governor Scott announced a further loosening of gathering guidelines.
“Effective immediately anyone who’s been fully vaccinated may gather with another household regardless of whether the other household has been fully vaccinated or not," Scott said. "To give you an example if your parents are fully vaccinated you could go to their house for dinner or vice versa. But this only applies to one household at a time.”
The allocation of vaccines to the states is intended for use as the first dose.