Vermonters react as state inches toward 80% vaccination goal

Vermonters react as state inches closer to 80% vaccination goal
Vermonters react as state inches closer to 80% vaccination goal
Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 12:58 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont is on the brink of hitting its 80% vaccination goal this weekend and Vermonters are anxiously awaiting the state’s reopening.

As of Friday night, the state reached 79.8% and has only 1,300 vaccinations to go before Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, will lift all restrictions.

In a final push to get Vermonters vaccinated, the city of Burlington and Garnet Health have set up walk-in clinics at Jazz Fest for the past two weeks at City Hall Park. Employees say only about 50 people have showed up. They say the low turnout is an indicator that majority of Vermonters have already gotten the shot.

“We’ll start yelling at people like ‘Get your vaccines! Get your vaccines!’ And they’re like ‘I’m fully vaccinated,’” said Joseph Young. “A lot of people coming by are like ‘You know, I’m fully vaccinated but I wanted to say thank you for doing this.’”

Once the state hits the 80% vaccination benchmark, Gov. Scott says he will lift all restrictions, meaning there will be no more capacity limits for businesses or events, and masks and physical distancing will become encouraged for those who are unvaccinated.

But some people who have gotten the shot still say it’ll be a while before they completely lose their face coverings.

“I’ll probably say like at the point where there have been no deaths in the state, probably for about a month or so if when I would completely go back to normal,” said Kate Concannon of Burlington.

Others hope we don’t go back to normal and instead, embrace whatever the post-pandemic normal is.

“I think we’ve seen a lot and learned a lot this year and this pandemic has really exposed a lot of inequities. I don’t want to say that we should go back to normal,” said Caitlyn Clark of Winooski. “I think paid sick leave and wearing a mask at work if you’re not feeling well... yeah, I think there’s a lot we could learn from this year.”

Others are ecstatic for the reopening and the chance to do things they used to do before the pandemic began.

“It’s crazy, honestly. I’m very excited for things to reopen and I’m just glad that Vermont has come this far,” said Julian Lyons of Shelburne.

“I am excited to see live music more again and go dancing and spend a lot of time at my favorite bar the Monkey House,” said Meghan Downey of Winooski.

“I think it’s awesome. I know my home state of Pennsylvania, for a while, was having trouble getting vaccines into arms and so it’s been really awesome to see people be so cognizant here and to make the effort to get vaccinated,” said Allison Suddaby of Middlebury.

The Jazz Fest vaccination clinic will be open for its final day on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. You do not need to register to attend.

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