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Are young Vermonters signing up for COVID vaccinations?

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 4:26 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Registration is now open for all Vermonters 16 and older to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a step closer in the direction of getting shots in everyone’s arms, but are people signing up?

The Vermont Department of Health says more than 11,000 registered Monday for the shot.

People I spoke with say it’s one step closer to a more normal life.

“It was reassuring to be able to get it. The kind of end to a long road,” said Will Fischer, a UVM student.

Any Vermont resident 16 and up can now sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. Registration opened early and people we spoke with were prepared.

“I generally wake up early, so it wasn’t too bad,” said Giancarlo Filippi of Burlington.

“I was up at seven, yeah, it was an early morning, kind of like class registration,” Fischer said.

“I’m 26 and have friends that live in New York City and were able to sign up, so I was antsy and ready,” said Liza Therkelsen of Burlington.

Vermonters can sign up on the state website or through a pharmacy like Walgreens, Kinney Drugs, CVS and Hannaford.

But not all Vermont college students were able to register for the shot. Those not planning to stay here for the summer don’t become eligible until April 30, leaving some to continue to wait for their opportunity.

“I’m going to get it. I’m from South Carolina, so I’m going to get it when I go back home,” said Liz Sparks, a UVM student.

This past Saturday, Vermonters 16-18 got to get their spot in line earlier in hopes of being fully vaccinated by graduation time.

“I have just been waiting to get it done and excited to finally maybe get to see friends,” said Carly Charron, a BFA-St. Albans student.

But after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was put on hold, some hesitancy over the shot is growing.

“We have been in this situation a while. We want to hang out again, we want to be able to play sports. It’s difficult with the masks and everything but I think there is a lot of talk around it in the younger age,” said Emma Archambault of St. Albans.

Despite the J&J pause, the Health Department says the shot is safe and continues to encourage you to get your vaccine.

“If you’re young, I know you might be a little bit nervous but please, ask the questions you need, but go to reputable sites,” said Tracy Dolan, Vermont’s deputy health commissioner.

The Health Department says in the last month, 35% of COVID cases in the state have been in the age group of 10-29.

“So important we have seen among young people we have got the virus moving a lot more quickly, young people are out and about and we have a new variant that is more transmissible,” Dolan said.

As for COVID on the UVM campus, the school reported about 30 cases last week. That comes after fears of a super spreader event April 10 at North Beach in Burlington. School officials say they are encouraged by the numbers for now, but they also know they still have another week of testing to know the full impact.

As for whether any of those students at North Beach will face any sort of punishment from UVM, the school says at this point there have only been warnings. They say it has been difficult to monitor the videos they were sent.

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