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Hundreds of BIPOC Vermonters get first dose of COVID vaccine at special clinic

Published: Mar. 20, 2021 at 7:43 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 8:53 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Nearly 300 Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) stopped by the city-run BIPOC COVID vaccination clinic on Saturday at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul to get their first dose of the vaccine.

The state of Vermont is prioritizing the BIPOC community because they’re overrepresented in COVID cases and deaths.

People stood in line all afternoon to get the shot.

Harlan Ransom and his family traveled from Strafford. He says the trip was worth it.

“I think it’s pretty important,” Ransom said. “It gives a chance for people who are more at risk to get the peace of mind and the safety that they need and deserve.”

Ben Albin of Burlington says he feels relieved to be vaccinated.

“I feel like there was a lot of anxiety wondering about symptoms and now I know that will be gone soon,” Albin said.

Both men are looking forward to getting their second dose next month.

Dr. Anthony Williams, a UVM Medical Center physician, was on scene working as a volunteer. He says along with administering shots, the clinic also served to educate and dispel any misinformation about the vaccine.

“Really make sure that the community knows how the vaccine works, the pluses and minuses of it, how it can benefit them and their families,” Williams said. “So I think it really serves as a great opportunity for them to make the best medical decisions for themselves with all of the knowledge that’s available to them. And we can do all of that right here, right now, which is great.”

The Vermont Health Department is releasing information on the next BIPOC vaccination clinic on Tuesday.

Any member of the BIPOC community who wants to get vaccinated must live with someone 65 or older, or 16 and older with a high-risk condition, such as pregnancy, cancer or sickle cell disease. As of Saturday morning, the state reports nearly 16% of Vermont’s BIPOC population is vaccinated. In contrast, about 28% of non-Hispanic white Vermonters have received at least one dose.

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