At his regular COVID briefing today, Vermont Governor Phil Scott began by remembering the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Nineteen years ago this morning I was at work listening to WDEV when a report came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City. I stopped what I was doing and turned on the TV to get an update. I watched as another plane flew into the second tower and it soon became clear that our nation was under attack.” Scott, a Republican, says the nation now needs the same sense of resolve that brought people together in 2001. “Today in the face of a once-in-a-century crisis that has taken the lives of almost 200,000 Americans it’s also important to remember the determination and resolve we found in those days, weeks and months following September 11th. Our country desperately needs to find that unity again because the fact is this is going to be with us until there’s a safe vaccine in place.”
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine acknowledged that there are fears that political pressure is being applied to rush approval of a COVID-19 vaccine before proper testing and reassured Vermonters that any vaccine rolled out in the state will be safe. “The tremendous pressure to rapidly develop a vaccine must not outweigh the importance of its efficacy and safety. We stand together with other health departments across the country in our insistence that any vaccine made available to the public must meet all of the Food and Drug Administration safety standards and be recommended by ACIP – the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices – which is an independent national advisory committee. We stand with science. And as we wait for the vaccine we must keep up our preventive practices.”
Scott also announced he is extending Vermont’s state of emergency another month. “While our numbers have been low in Vermont the measures in place have helped keep it that way. So again it probably comes as no surprise that I’ll be extending the State of Emergency to October 15th. As I have said this is the vehicle that allows us to manage and continue to suppress this virus and make sure supports for workers and families remain available.”
On Thursday, the Vermont House gave preliminary approval to the state budget and at the time of Governor Scott’s briefing its third reading in that chamber was pending. Scott noted that there is still a long process through the Senate and then returning through the House before the budget reaches his desk. “The version that I’ve seen from the House thus far is fairly close to ours so I’m grateful for that and their work. There’s some things that we didn’t get that I wanted but there are things that they went along with that I wanted as well. So that’s the way the budget process works.”
The Vermont legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act this week. Scott said it does not address his concerns but noted it had not arrived on his desk yet for his final consideration.