BRATTLEBORO—Vermont passed a significant milestone in the battle against COVID-19 on Feb. 5, as more than 10 percent of Vermonters age 16 and over received at least one dose of the vaccine.
At a Feb. 5 news briefing, Gov. Phil Scott said that he expects to see the state quickly get to 20 percent as more vaccines receive federal approval.
According to Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith, that 10 percent figure included nearly 34,000 people who have received at least one dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and about 26,500 who have gotten both doses of either.
And, as of Feb. 5, about 34,000 of the nearly 49,000 Vermonters in the 75-and-older group have signed up to get their first dose.
Smith said the state is working to get more hospitals online to help with vaccine distribution, including Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend.
According to the hospital, vaccines will initially be offered at Grace Cottage on Wednesday, Feb. 10; Thursday, Feb. 11; Wednesday, Feb. 17; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital has also been offering vaccines. According to President and CEO Steve Gordon, BMH began its public clinic, in partnership with the state, on Feb. 3, with 92 people over age 75 vaccinated on the first day.
“We are geared up to provide 160 vaccines per clinic day moving forward,” Gordon said.
All appointments at BMH and Grace Cottage must be made through the Vermont Department of Health’s registration system.
For those who are confined to their homes, Smith said the state is working to use home health and EMS workers to deliver vaccines. Windham County will be among the first to see this service.
Smith said Rescue Inc., the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire, and Bayada Home Health will assist in vaccinations in Windham County. Rescue Inc. has been assisting Brattleboro’s other clinic at the VFW, at 40 Black Mountain Rd.
Vermonters 75 and older who already receive home health services will be first to get shots, and they will be notified to arrange a time for the vaccine.
Once the roughly 2,000 Vermonters connected with home health services have been reached, the service will be expanded to include others in need. Numerous partners, including primary care, agencies on aging, and municipalities are now working on how best to create this phase of outreach.
More vaccines coming
State officials say Vermont remains on target to lower the age threshold of vaccinations available to age 70 by the end of February. That optimism comes after the state learned last week it can expect to see more doses of vaccine over the next few weeks.
Vermont’s vaccine allotment will increase by 5 percent, bringing the total number of weekly doses to nearly 11,000. That is a 21 percent increase over January’s ration.
Scott said the state is getting 1,000 to 2,000 doses shipped to Walgreens pharmacies over the next few weeks as part of a federal pilot project.
Those doses will be for over-75 Vermonters for now, more details are expected in the coming days. Federal officials are also expected to give Vermont tools to squeeze additional doses out of the Pfizer vials.
For information about registering for a vaccination appointment, visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine. Anyone who is unable to register online or who needs to speak with someone in a language other than English should phone 855-722-7878.