Additional 2K vaccine doses allocated to Vermont

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 9:37 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2021 at 1:56 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Governor Phil Scott Tuesday says the Biden administration has promised Vermont and other states an additional bump in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses coming to the state in the coming three weeks.

The governor participated in a call with the National Governors’ Association and administration officials and says they committed to increasing Vermont’s allocated COVID-19 vaccine doses to roughly 11,000 doses each week for at least the next three weeks, which is about 2,000 more than the state is getting now. They will also help the state with the tools to get more out of each vial of Pfizer vaccine. “Which is potentially about 15 to 20% more per vial. So that’s not included in this, but they are providing all the tools we need to do that. And I believe they did that this week, but they are going to continue to do that in the future,” Scott said.

Plus, another thousand or so doses going directly to pharmacies that partnered with the federal government for a pilot program. “Every little bit helps. This will be substantial and we’ll see how it works. But again, we expect that to be rolling out in the next two weeks,” Scott said.

There was also more good news in the latest case data. Daily cases continue to drop nationally, regionally, and in Vermont. Deaths in the state are down too. But cases and hospitalizations in Bennington County are disproportionately high. Health officials are blaming crossover from neighboring counties in other states. “Our data teams have not pinpointed any one cause for the spread in Bennington County,” said Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

The outbreak of COVID-19 at Norwich University is now up to 94 cases. There were 65 new cases of coronavirus on higher-ed campuses in Vermont over the past week. DFR Commissioner Mike Pieciak says that’s not unexpected given the higher case counts in the region now. “The active cases in our region are almost 10 times greater this spring semester as compared to restart back in August,” he said.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 34,000 Vermonters ages 75-plus had signed up for vaccine appointments and 14% of that group have gotten the first dose already. The state hopes to start administering vaccines to homebound Vermonters by the end of the week. Vermont has received almost 110,000 doses of vaccine and administered two-thirds of them. As of Tuesday, about 35,000 Vermonters have received one shot and 19,000 have received two.

Tuesday’s snowstorm doesn’t appear to have had a major impact on COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Only 21 Vermonters had canceled vaccine appointments due to the storm as of Tuesday morning.

Officials say 85% of people in long-term care have chosen to get vaccinated and that rolling back some restrictions for that population is a top priority. “Our seniors living in long-term care facilities have been isolated for far too long and it is our hope to re-establish those social connections as soon as possible,” said AHS Secretary Mike Smith.

The health department also said they’re starting to assess the data from the first two weeks of practices for high school winter sports to see if restrictions can be lifted. The governor said he knows they need to make a call on that soon and said he does envision some sort of winter sports program this year.

As of Tuesday, Vermont health officials reported 108 new coronavirus cases for a total of 12,196. There have been a total of 176 deaths. The state’s percent positive seven-day average is 2.1%. A total of 305,785 people have been tested, 166 travelers are being monitored, 12,748 have completed monitoring, and 8,581 have recovered.

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