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Vermont is leading the nation in the number of vaccines administered per 100,000 people but is slightly below the national average in the number of 18 to 29-year-olds getting the shots, state officials said Tuesday.

Nearly 95% of Vermonters over age 65 have gotten at least one dose but only about half of people under age 30 have been vaccinated or made an appointment to get a shot, Gov. Phil Scott during his biweekly virus briefing.

The state needs to increase those numbers in order to hit the June 1 goal of having over 70% of eligible Vermonters vaccinated so that by July, enough of the state will be vaccinated for mandates and restrictions to be dropped, Scott said.

“So if you want to attend concerts, fairs and festivals, if you want restaurants and bars to stay open past 10:00, do your part and get vaccinated,” the Republican governor said. “This is truly is a moment of service.”

The state is hosting a number of pop-up clinics at colleges, worksites, fairgrounds and speedways that will allow walk-ins, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith. Those included clinics at Middlebury College and Bennington College on Tuesday; St. Michael’s College on Thursday; Northern Vermont University in Lyndon on Friday; Castleton University on Saturday; and Northern Vermont University in Johnson on May 11.

People may also sign up online on the Health Department's website or by calling 855-722-7878.

“These clinics are open to all eligible Vermonters and there are some ... walk-in opportunities available at all of these clinics as well,” Smith said.

Another clinic will be held Friday at the Tunbridge fairgrounds and on Saturday at the Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., which is walk-in only, he said.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine urged people who have not been vaccinated to get one and to look at the experience in Vermont, where there's almost never a case of COVID-19 in people over 65 now and death rates have plummeted, especially in that age group, he said.

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“When a death occurs, it is almost invariably in an unvaccinated person,” he said. "And we’re not hearing about delayed or unanticipated side effects of vaccine months after inoculation. Instead, we are hearing stories of people who got the COVID-19 virus and are having prolonged symptoms or even long-haul syndrome who had not gotten vaccinated.”

THE NUMBERS

Vermont reported 34 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, for a statewide total of more more than 23,190 since the pandemic began.

Cases continue on a positive trajectory and have only gone over 100 once in the last two weeks, Levine said.

Currently, 17 people were hospitalized, including six in intensive care.

The Associated Press is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 117.29 new cases per day on April 18 to 77.29 new cases per day on May 2.

The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.29 deaths per day on April 18 to 0.57 deaths per day on May 2.

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