Governor Phil Scott says the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed across Vermont, but not at the rate he had expected.
On Tuesday afternoon the first Vermonter, a nurse at the UVM Medical Center, received the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine calls the initial receipt and roll out of the vaccine in Vermont and across the country an historic step. “All hospitals have now received their complete allocation of vaccine for the first week and they’ve been busy vaccinating their higher risk health care staff. We’re providing guidance to hospitals regarding the remaining higher risk health care workers who don’t work within their walls but will still need to obtain their vaccine from the hospital in their region. And our pharmacy partners, CVS, Walgreens and HealthDirect/Kinney, are scheduled to begin clinics at long term care facilities next week.”
Several states have reported that they have not received their next full allotments of the Pfizer vaccine. Governor Scott confirmed he had received texts from fellow governors over the past couple days that their allotment had been reduced. “Up until this morning we were still scheduled to receive our allotment but literally five minutes before we came into this press conference we received the news that our allotment would be reduced as well.”
Dr. Levine continues: “I’ve been engaged with all of my colleagues in the region who are reporting a 25 to 35 percent decrease in their allocation for next week. As we were walking in I learned that as many as 975 doses out of the expected 5,850 doses would not be coming in when we expected. That doesn’t mean we won’t be getting all of the doses. It just means it won’t be coming when we expect it. What everyone around the country is upset about in addition to just the number is there’s been no communication.”
Vermont’s Republican leader participated with other governors in a call with Democratic President-elect Joseph Biden earlier this week. “At least half the other governors across the U.S. were on the call as well. President-elect Biden as well as Vice President-elect Harris had said you know they’re ready to work with us in any way they can. An open door policy, anything that they can do to help and understanding that the first 100 days are going to be important especially with the pandemic. I thought it was a positive hour, hour and a half, of time spent with them and they said that they hope to continue this process of engaging with the governors on a regular basis.”
Governor Scott is rescheduling next Friday’s COVID-19 briefing a day earlier due to Christmas.