MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is beginning with the inoculations of medical professionals across the state before expanding to residents of long-term care facilities, and then the general population.
The first dose of the vaccine was administered Tuesday to a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. Later Tuesday, five nurses were vaccinated at the Rutland Regional Medical Center.
On Wednesday, vaccinations are scheduled to begin at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.
Vaccinations will begin soon at the state’s nursing homes. Front-line medical workers get first priority for the vaccines, followed by nursing home residents.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Tuesday that by the end of December, 34,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Vermont.
Officials say it will be spring before anyone in the state who wants the vaccine can receive it.
Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Scott and others say Vermonters are going to have to continue to wear masks, maintain social distance and quarantine after traveling.
An additional piece of good news came on Tuesday when officials said Vermont avoided a surge in cases after Thanksgiving, as some had feared.
On Wednesday the Vermont Health Department reported 73 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, causing the statewide total since the pandemic began to cross the 6,000-case threshold to just under 6,010.
The state reported five additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 105.
There are currently 30 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including six in the intensive care unit.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 74.29 new cases per day on Dec. 1 to 106.14 new cases per day on Dec. 15.
The latest average positivity rate in Vermont is 2.03%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Vermont the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 1.88% on Dec. 1 to 2.03% on Dec. 15.