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Lisa Barry, with Rescue Inc., gives the second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Cheryl Bauer, of Vernon, during a vaccination clinic that was run by the Vermont Health Department at the Brattleboro VFW on March 15.

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MONTPELIER — State officials are celebrating the number of Vermonters vaccinated against COVID-19 so far as they prepare to get more doses than previously anticipated this week.

“We are one step closer to ending this pandemic and we’re encouraged by the high percentage of Vermonters in each eligible age group who have made an appointment to receive the vaccine,” Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said Tuesday at the governor’s twice weekly news conference on the state’s response to the pandemic.

One in three Vermonters received at least one dose and Smith anticipates one in five will be fully vaccinated by the end of the week. He called the first figure “an important milestone.”

So far, 82,500 Vermonters received a first dose and about 97,100 have gotten all needed doses. Smith said the goal is to have all eligible Vermonters fully vaccinated by July 1.

An “accelerated” vaccine schedule starts this week. Registration opens at 8 a.m. Thursday for those who are 60 and older, March 29 for 50 and older, April 5 for 40 and older, April 12 for 30 and older, and April 19 for 16 and older.

An additional approximately 5,000 vaccine doses will be allocated to Vermont this week than previously anticipated, Gov. Phil Scott said.

“So that’s great news for us,” he said, estimating the total to be about 23,000 doses this week.

Scott said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, believes the AstraZeneca vaccine will eventually be authorized for use in the U.S and feels it is safe and effective.

Fauci also updated governors on vaccinating children. Researchers just recently began clinical trials of COVID vaccines for children.

Scott said it’s expected that all high school students will be eligible in the fall and young children by the beginning of next year.

“So they’re doing trials at this point in time and said that’s going well,” he said.

The state recorded 850 new COVID-19 cases last week, an increase of 61 over the prior week. Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, said daily case counts have remained “relatively stable” — hovering at about 100 to 120 in recent weeks.

Hospitalizations decreased by 62 percent since the pandemic’s peak in early February, he said, noting that vaccination efforts are protecting the most vulnerable groups as deaths and hospitalizations are decreasing over time. Four active outbreaks were reported in long-term care facilities including Vermont Veterans’ Home in Bennington.

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