With data showing demand for COVID vaccines dropping significantly in Vermont since last fall, the state’s walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics will close Wednesday.
“The necessity for having these free walk-in clinics throughout the state is really starting to lessen and lessen,” said Monica Ogelby, the Immunization Program manager for the Vermont Department of Public Health.
According to Ogelby, in October of 2022, the health department administered roughly 85,000 doses of the vaccine. In December, that number dropped to around 24,000 doses, and then dropped again in January to less than 10,000 doses.
The data also shows more people are choosing to get vaccinated by their primary care providers rather than at clinics.
“So what we’re really starting to see is that more and more people are returning to a sense of normalcy where they’re going to their primary care provider or to a pharmacy to get vaccinated, and that’s a good thing,” Ogelby said. “That’s our normal system that we’ve sort of always relied on pre-pandemic, which almost feels hard to even remember.”
The change in vaccine access for Vermonters comes just days after President Biden announced the White House’s federal COVID emergency measures will end this coming May. The topic has stirred up controversy among members of Congress, with some House Republicans saying the emergency measures should end this week, arguing that the pandemic is over.
“The rest of the world’s gone back to normal and the government hasn’t,” said Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie. “It’s time to catch up.”
However, while demand for COVID vaccines has significantly dropped, Vermont health officials say the pandemic is not over since it is still impacting thousands of people.
“To say that it’s over I think would really devalue a lot of people that are still living with the impacts of COVID,” Ogelby said.
Ogelby says any Vermonters having trouble accessing COVID vaccines should call their local office of health, as they would be more than happy to help anyone get access.