Despite reports that the numbers of new cases of COVID-19 continue to run comparatively high in many of Vermont’s counties, Gov. Phil Scott announced in his regular Friday press conference that he had encouraging news on the vaccination front. All adult Vermonters can register for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.
Vaccine slots will become available on a scheduled basis based on age. Vermonters aged 60 and over will be able to start reserving their jabs on March 25. Those aged 50 and over can register starting on March 29. Starting on April 5, those over 40 can register, followed by those 30 and over on April 12 and everyone aged 16 and older starting on April 19.
The Scott Administration notes that Vermonters should expect the entire process, from registration to receiving the vaccine shots to completing the waiting period for full efficacy, to be about two months. They foresee the potential for vaccinating all Vermonters wanting to receive the vaccine by the Fourth of July so long as the delivery of vaccines to the state as projected by the federal government comes to fruition.
“Normal to me is not a small cookout in your backyard with a couple of friends,” Scott said. “It’s when things will feel similar to pre-pandemic. To put a finer point on it — for our high school seniors, this timeline means that in June — you should be able to have a more traditional graduation and celebrate what you’ve accomplished with your friends and family.”
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine noted that with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being fully vaccinated means two weeks after receiving the second shot. The Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine is available only in relatively small quantities so far in Vermont; it also requires a 14-day period following the injection for a person to be considered fully vaccinated.
Levine emphasized that it is essential that people plan to continue following the guidelines of masking, social distancing, and avoiding crowded places even after vaccination.
Gov. Scott added that “Vaccination is not going to get rid of the virus anytime soon.” It is still unknown how long vaccine immunity will last, Levine explained, “but we will be getting data from the participants in the 2020 trials” as to how long the antibodies endure.
“We in Vermont are blessed by having such a low incidence of infection, but it means we will be relying more on the vaccines to be sure everyone is protected,” Levine concluded.