The state of Vermont is expecting to expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to out-of-state college students and second homeowners on April 30 if there is an adequate supply of vaccines.
Gov. Phil Scott announced the policy change Wednesday after he initially said vaccines in the state would be reserved for residents. For the purposes of being vaccinated, Vermont defines residents as people who have lived there for six months, including college students who plan to spend the summer in the state.
On April 19, Vermont is expanding vaccinations to everyone over 16.
There are thousands of out-of-state college students living in Vermont who have not been vaccinated. Of the nearly 10,200 undergraduate students at the University of Vermont in Burlington more than 72% are from out of state. Exams run through May 18.
The university’s weekly COVID-19 testing report, dated Sunday, said 55 off-campus and 25 on-campus students had tested positive for the virus.
At Middlebury College, where school will run until May 28, students were told the college had developed a plan to vaccinate students on campus should vaccine become available in late April or May.
“We are prepared to distribute vaccines to students as soon as they become available,” said a Thursday letter to the campus community by college physician Dr. Mark Peluso. “Timing, availability, and type of vaccine offered will determine how we proceed. “
Almost 96% of Middlebury’s 1,950 students are from outside Vermont. As of Thursday, the college said it had no active cases of COVID-19 among its students.
The letter said students who are eligible to be vaccinated in a home state within one-day driving distance of Middlebury must get permission from the dean of students before traveling out of Vermont.
When asked Tuesday by a journalist from the Vermont Cynic, the student newspaper at the University of Vermont, about vaccinations for students, Scott said it was Vermonters first.
In clarifying his statement issued late Wednesday, Scott said discussions have been ongoing about when to make nonresident students eligible to be vaccinated.
“Based on the current vaccine supply forecasts, and as long as doses continue to be allocated at the current level, the state expects to expand registration for COVID-19 vaccines to any college students who do not meet the residency definition above, as well as second homeowners returning to Vermont for the summer months, on April 30,” the statement said.