Health Dept. opens walk-in vaxx clinics to
out-of-staters working in Vermont

Image by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay/Illustration by The Chester Telegraph.

© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Vermont health officials announced that registration is now open, with walk-in opportunities available, to anyone who lives out of state but works in Vermont, regardless of their occupation. Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said the state might have additional announcements next week on further category expansion.

Smith also said he expects to hear from the Centers for Disease Control next Wednesday regarding emergency use approval for the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 5. Upon approval, registration will begin immediately through the state website, and officials will move quickly to set up school-based sites convenient to students, with those sites also open to everyone.

As Vermont continues to lead the country in several vaccination categories, state officials have begun transitioning the vaccination program from larger vaccination sites to include pop-up events, additional on-campus sites, drive-thru and walk-in opportunities in unique venues including speedways, and other “barnstorming events” including fairs and festivals in future, in an attempt to “meet Vermonters where they are.”

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said on Friday “with drive-thrus, walk-ins, and whatever ways we can think of, we’re going to make it as easy and convenient as possible…”  He added that he doubted Vermonters will remain unvaccinated because of lack of opportunity.

Two Johnson & Johnson vaccine, walk-in only opportunities are scheduled at two speedways on Saturday, May 8: at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford from 4 to 7 p.m. and at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Those receiving vaccines at Bear Ridge will receive free admission to the racetrack or a pass for a future event.

According to Smith, a “Barnstorming Event” is being planned for Windham County next week — May 18, 19 and 20 — with evening clinics planned in five communities, and will include both appointment and walk-in opportunities, with details being announced next week. He also hinted at another major event coming up throughout the state. For all upcoming vaccination opportunities throughout the state, visit the state’s website.

Vermont continues to lead the nation; 360,000+ vaccinated

According to the Health Department, more than 360,200 Vermonters — age 16 and older — have received at least one dose of vaccine. Almost 104,900 have received their first dose; over 255,300 have received both doses.

Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, announced on Tuesday that Vermont is first in the nation for:

  • doses administered per 100,000 people;
  • those who are 65+ who have received at least one dose (95.5 percent);
  • those 65+ who are fully vaccinated (85.2 percent); and
  • vaccine demand by those who have registered but not yet gotten their first dose.

Vermont is  third in the nation for overall vaccination rate, which includes those who have received at least one dose.

Pieciak said that Vermont is far ahead in each age category versus the national average, except for 18 to 29 year olds, which are slightly below the national average.

Of the six college clinics scheduled this past week, Castleton University remains on Saturday, May 8. Smith did not have specific numbers to report on college clinic attendance other than to say that the University of Vermont event was well attended and he would provide specifics next week.

To register for a vaccination or see where walk-in vaccinations are available visit the Vermont Health Dept. website or call 855-722-7878.

Walgreens continues to offer vaccinations and Vermonters can register directly on its website or through the state website. Kinney Drugs and CVS also continue to offer vaccines and can be scheduled either on their respective websites or through the state website. Only larger Shaw’s stores that have pharmacies will be participating in the vaccination program, which means that neither the Ludlow nor Springfield locations is participating.

Price Chopper and Rite Aid are also offering vaccines, with both the Ludlow and Springfield Rite Aid locations participating. Appointments cannot be made directly through the stores however; scheduling must happen through the state website.

State vaccine allocation continues to be steady for all three approved vaccines over the coming weeks with 25,000 doses expected next week. On Tuesday, Governor Phil Scott said that the federal government was creating a federal pool of vaccines, which may allow states to order above their maximum, up to 50% of their currently allowed allocation.

Mask usage clarified for school spring sports

Agency of Education Secretary Dan French provided clarification for school spring sports programs based on the loosened mask mandates announced last week. Low contact or no contact spring sports such as tennis, track & field, baseball and softball are no longer required to wear masks as long as physical distances of 6 feet can be maintained.

Moderate contact or close proximity sports like lacrosse or ultimate Frisbee must continue to wear masks during practice and game play.

Spectators do not need to wear a mask if they are outdoors and can maintain a 6-foot distance between households but must wear a mask while attending any indoor school sporting events.

Chester numbers reverse; county numbers lower

The town of Chester returned to previous levels of new Covid cases this week, falling from 12 last week, down to one. Springfield saw a slight decrease dropping from 12 cases last week to nine this week. Cavendish rose from zero to three new cases, and Ludlow added three new cases this week, up from two.

Windsor County dropped this week, going from 45 new cases last week down to 38 cases for a total of 1,386. Windham County added 31 new cases, down from 37 new cases last week, for a total of 1,335. Rutland County continued to drop, adding 51 new cases, down from 59 last week for a total of 2,145. Bennington County numbers continued lower, adding 27 new cases, down from 41 last week, for a total of 1,967.

Statewide cases continue drop, three deaths reported

The Health Department reported this week that new Covid-19 cases have continued to drop, adding just 441, down from 538 cases last week for a total of 23,393 since the beginning of the pandemic. This is the sixth straight week numbers have to decline since their peak from this latest surge in early April.

There were three reported deaths from Covid-19 this week, holding steady from last week. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid-19 is now 249. One death from Covid-19 this week was 80 years old or older, two deaths were ages 60 to 69.

The overall seven-day positivity rate rose slightly, going from 1.0 percent last week to 1.3 percent this week. Hospitalizations remained steady at 17, with patients in intensive care going from five to four.

The total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data published on the Health Department’s daily dashboard from Friday, April 30 through Friday, May 7.

In K-12 schools throughout Vermont, there are 41 new Covid cases this week, double the number from last week for a total of 1,291 Covid cases reported on the School Based Covid-19 Transmission document as of Wednesday, May 2. Of note, many schools had been on vacation last week.

UVM reported a total of 40 student positive cases during the week of April 26-May 5, down from 44 cases last week.

The Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield has been updated with daily testing available from now through Saturday, May 22 with varying times each day. The CIC Health Testing in Springfield is located at 51 Pearl St., Level 1, in Springfield. Click on this link to check for specific times each day. Sign up to be notified of future testing dates in the area of your choice.

For more statewide details on Covid-19 information and resources, click here.

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