‘Your moment has arrived’: State officials urge hesitant Vermonters to get vaccinated

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MONTPELIER – On Friday, Vermont officials said it’s time for the thousands of Vermonters over the age of 16 who haven’t started their vaccinations to step up and ensure the state can return to normalcy by Independence Day.

“If there is a Vermonter who has not been vaccinated but has been waiting for a convenient time, location, more interesting experience, a walk-in or drive-thru opportunity, or just doesn’t want to be bothered with scheduling and planning, it’s your time to shine,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. “Your moment has arrived.”

The Vermont Forward Plan sets a target of having 70 to 85 percent of Vermonters over 16 fully vaccinated by July 4 – as of Friday, 46.7 percent were fully vaccinated.

“We need Vermonters who haven’t yet scheduled their appointments to do so if we’re going to meet our targets,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Vaccinations mean no more masks, larger gatherings, concerts, weddings, celebrations and parties. They mean full restaurants, movies and theaters, but we’ll only get there if you sign up.”

It’s expected that the FDA could authorize the Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15 next Wednesday, and Dr. Levine urged families to be ready.

“If approved, we will be ready to open vaccination to this age group quickly,” he said. “So, if you have a child in this group, start planning ahead by creating an account on our website. Or if you already have one, you can add your child to your own account as a dependent. Then you’ll be prepared to make their appointment when we open registration.” 

Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said the state will be offering school-based sites to make it more convenient for students, and all of those sites will be open to the public.

Smith also noted that as of Friday, anyone who lives out-of-state but works in Vermont is eligible to make an appointment, or a walk-in visit, at a Vermont clinic.

Vermont is offering special COVID-19 vaccination opportunities on Saurday at a handful of locations – the Bear Ridge and Devils Bowl Speedways will be hosting walk-in vaccinations. Both will have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Bear Ridge will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with 150 slots available, while Devils Bowl will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with 180 slots available.

Eight mobile clinics in Essex County and one in Caledonia County this weekend will also offer Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You can make an appointment for the events through the Vermont Department of Health website at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine or look at the list of walk-in slots available.

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