The state of Vermont is moving closer toward its goal of vaccinating 80 percent of the eligible population, a goal that, when reached, will result in the state lifting all restrictions imposed to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, the state reported more than 725 people received their first vaccine Thursday, leaving the state at 79.8 percent, just under 1,370 vaccines short of of reaching the goal.
To reach the goal the state has scheduled numerous walk-in clinics across Vermont this weekend to help the state reach the goal.
When Vermont hits the 80 percent threshold, Gov. Phil Scott will lift all remaining restrictions that were imposed because of the pandemic.
Locations where people can get vaccinated are listed on the website of the Vermont Department of Health. In addition to those locations, many Vermont pharmacies are also offering COVID-19 vaccinations without appointments.
“Every person we get vaccinated not only puts us closer to our 80 percent goal but also puts us in a better position for the fall when we know cases may rise,” Scott said in a statement. “The more people vaccinated means even if that occurs, we can continue to see minimal hospitalizations and deaths, keep variants at bay and keep the pandemic phase of COVID in the rearview mirror.”
Advocates for homeless Vermonters and people facing food insecurity are urging Scott to delay fully lifting the emergency order used during the COVID-19 pandemic because it authorizes federal aid to the vulnerable communities.
A letter signed by representatives of 130 organizations and businesses across the state says the economic impact of COVID-19 remains widespread.
Levels of hunger have not decreased in the past year, an eviction crisis still looms and housing insecurity disproportionately affects families with children and Vermonters who are members of minority communities, the advocates say.
Scott’s office says they are likely to issue a separate executive order to retain the initiatives that help the vulnerable. They expect to release more details Tuesday.
On Friday, the Vermont Health Department reported seven new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 24,320.
There were two patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including one in intensive care.
The number of deaths remains at 256.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 22.29 new cases a day on May 26 to 10.57 new cases a day on Wednesday.
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.