Vermont prepares for phase two of vaccine distribution

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Beginning January 25th, Vermonters 75 and older can register for their first dose of the vaccine. State leaders say that’s about 50,000 people in the Green Mountain state.

“It’s all about vaccinating those more likely to die from COVID so we can protect them as early as possible,” said Gov. Phil Scott.

The governor has extended the state of emergency through February 15th. Since the vaccine rollout last month, 35,000 doses have been administered. Human services Secretary Mike Smith says a big road-block is the limited supply from the federal government. Right now, the state is receiving about 8,800 doses each week.

“What we really need is greater quantity of vaccine in the weeks ahead so we can speed up our efforts,” Smith said. “But we want to set appropriate expectations and communicate clearly where we are”.

Smith estimates this group will take about 6 weeks to be vaccinated. Vermonters 70 and up will be next, followed by those 65 and older. At that point, vaccines will become available to those with preexisting health conditions.

“Current cancer, kidney disease, COPD also known as emphysema, a variety of heart problems,” said Dr. Mark Levine.

Levine says people immune-compromised, pregnant, or with down syndrome will also be eligible. Something to note, you will schedule your second dose at the time you receive the first one. Officials stress that registration should be done using the online portal to prevent the call center from becoming overwhelmed and are calling on children and grandchildren to assist their older relatives. That information will be shared closer to the end of the month.

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