MONTPELIER – On April 29, Vermont will open vaccine registration to out-of-state college students and others only living in Vermont for part of the year.
At Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, Governor Phil Scott also said he’s been advocating for Vermont to receive more than their usual weekly allotment of vaccine doses. Earlier this week, he brought the request to Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff during his visit to the state.
“I brought up the fact that we could use more in this state, at least in the short term,” Governor Scott said. “We don’t have the same type of problem, it seems as though the list is growing longer every day of states that have more supply than demand, we have the opposite problem.”
Scott said Vermont has plans in place to boost appointment availability if the White House agrees to send more supply. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine discussed how Vermont could eventually try to reach out to those who have been more hesitant to sign up.
“Do we need to design strategies that are more innovative and bring vaccines to a population than actually have the population seek out where to get the vaccine from?” Dr. Levine said. “Believe me, everything is on the table when it comes to trying to allow Vermonters to get vaccine in as rapid a fashion as possible.”
Officials also released guidance for graduations, end-of-year field trips and prom at Vermont schools.
In advance of these events, schools should advise participants about the public health
requirements for these gatherings, including advising potential participants that people with COVID-19-like symptoms must stay home. Facial coverings may be removed while delivering speeches and accepting diplomas.
End of year field trips are permitted, but out-of-state field trips are discouraged.
Proms and other social events can be scheduled, and dancing may occur at proms if participants remain masked.
“These celebrations are not only being permitted this year, but they’re strongly encouraged,” said Education Secretary Dan French. “This has been a long year for our students in our schools, and we want to do whatever we can to ensure the school year ends in a safe and celebratory way.”
With a lot of schools currently on April vacation, they’ll be returning just before Governor Scott’s suggested deadline for schools to resume full in-person instruction. He was asked if he’s confident they will.
“We’ll leave it to them to decide, but again, I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing at this point,” Gov. Scott said. “Anecdotally, there will be more coming back in person when they return from April vacation.”
Dr. Levine also discussed the challenges COVID-19 has created for people with substance use disorder, including isolation and mental and emotional pressures that contribute to this disease.
April 24 is Vermont’s Prescription Drug Takeback Day.
“More than half of the people who misuse prescription medication get it from a friend or relative, often straight out of the medicine cabinet,” Dr. Levine said. “If you no longer need your medication, please do your part and dispose of it safely.”
The Vermont Department of Health is also urging people to spread the word about a COVID-19 vaccine clinic available for members of the Abenaki community. They’ll take place this Sunday, April 25, at the Abenaki Tribal Office in Swanton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.