Vermont teens eligible for COVID vaccines ‘hitting it out of the park with registration,’ state says

Local News

More than 40 percent of 16- and 17-year-old Vermonters have either registered to receive or have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since they became eligible over the weekend.

Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan says the numbers are encouraging at a time when cases among young people are surging.

“Sixteen and seventeen year olds really hitting it out of the park with registration and/or getting their first dose already,” said Dolan. 

As of Monday afternoon, 11,500 thousand eligible teenagers signed up for an appointment, some with the help of their school.  

“In our homeroom, they just try to, like, tell us a couple times make sure you sign up and get your vaccine soon,” said a sophomore at Burlington High School. 

Adam Bunting, principal at Champlain Valley Union High School, notified his students by email and phone call. Following Gov. Phil Scott’s Covid-19 update on Friday, he reminded students once more over the PA system. 

“It’s been really positive,” Bunting said. “Students were excited. You could almost hear a little bit of a cheer in the building when we made the announcement.” 

But some students remain unsure about whether they’ll get it.  

“Most of my friend group say they’re not going to get it because Covid hasn’t been affecting their lives as much,” said a freshman at Colchester High School.

She said there haven’t been many conversations among students and teachers about the shot, despite the higher number of cases reported in the age group.

“Some of that is because they’re not vaccinated yet,” Dolan said. “Some of that is people tend to be more mobile and social. Also the variant appears to be moving through this age group more quickly.”

She says the Health Department has discussed administering the vaccine for students at schools, but she says, logistically, it’s better at public clinics. She adds, more Pfizer clinics have been added around the state.  

“We do find that when we open up an age group or a category, and we simply open it up to the public clinics, it goes a little better, the slots fill more quickly, we have fewer empty slots. When we close off for a particular group, there is some convenience there, but there’s also some logistical challenges,” said Dolan.

There are 117,000 Vermonters in the 16 to 29 age bracket. Dolan says nearly 24,000 have received their first dose. 

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