Governor Scott touts state’s accomplishments one year into pandemic

Local News

This weekend will mark one full year since the Green Mountain State saw its first confirmed case of Covid-19. 

But — as Governor Scott pointed out — we’ve come a long way. One year later, the state is distributing three different vaccines. And already, nearly 20 percent of the population is vaccinated. 

Effective March 5, Governor Scott is allowing vaccinated Vermonters to gather with other vaccinated individuals. This can also include one other household that is not vaccinated. 

Starting Monday, March 8, the state will begin Phase 5 of the vaccination roll out, which opens the spigot to even more Vermonters.

“…Which includes about 75,000 Vermonters of those with underlying health conditions as well as educators and more public safety personnel,” said Gov. Phil Scott.

Human Services Secretary Mike Smith says those 55 and older with a high risk condition (Phase 5A) can make an appointment on Monday. Those 16 and up with the same health risks (Phase 5B) can schedule theirs, the following Monday, March 15. 

This includes people with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart disease (does NOT include high blood pressure), pregnancy, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, and disabilities. A complete list of eligible health risks can be found here.

“We are pleased by the participation in and the progress of the vaccination program,” said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.

Next week, the shot will also be available for educators in seven school districts across the state, including Harwood Union (Waterbury area), Springfield, Barre, North Country, Rutland City, and Bennington County District Schools.

Smith says 28 additional clinics will be available soon. 

“The vaccination of school staff will likely have a significant impact on our ability to offer more in-person instruction this spring,” said Education Secretary Dan French.

One kindergarten teacher is eager to get her shot. 

“It just is a huge weight off our shoulders…It’s one huge step forward for us to be the teachers that we can be,” said Samantha Brehm.

Regulated childcare staff will be eligible for the shot March 15.  

“So here’s how it will happen. The K-12 education community and regulated childcare program staff will receive information on how and when they will be vaccinated and instructions how to register directly from their employers,” said Smith.

He advises that this population not make an appointment until they hear from their employer. So far the state has more than 100,000 people vaccinated against the virus. The governor says this number will only grow. 

“This means within a month one-third of the eligible population could be vaccinated,” said Scott.

The state has several vaccine sites available for eligible Vermonters:

Doubletree, South Burlington (03/06-7): The Vermont National Guard has available appointments at the Doubletree in South Burlington Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7. An appointment can be made here, through the Covid-19 event portal.

Spaulding High School (03/07): Kinney Drug’s will conduct a vaccine site at Spaulding High School. Registration can be done here.

Walmart & Costco Stores: Six Walmart stores received vaccines Friday. Costco also began vaccinating Friday. You must register for these appointments through the state website. Do not call the stores directly.

Homebound individuals: The call center for homebound individuals is now active. If you are homebound and have not already been contacted or made an appointment to be vaccinated, call the Department of Health at 833-722-0860, Monday-Friday from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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