Vermont will lift all remaining pandemic-related restrictions immediately ahead of the July 4 plan if the state reaches 80% of eligible people vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday.
Vermont leads the nation with over 70% of residents age 12 and older getting at least one dose, Scott said. To reach 80%, another 27,954 will need to get at least one dose, he said. The state is working to make getting vaccinated easy and accessible with numerous clinics, all taking walk-ins, around the state. They include 31 at Emergency Medical Services sites around Vermont this weekend, a pop-up clinic on Church St. in Burlington on Saturday and an event at Thunder Road in Barre on May 30, as well as clinics at state parks on June 12, officials said.
Employers also can help by hosting vaccine clinics, Scott said.
“Now the people who can help us accelerate this timeline the most are those between the ages of 18 and 29, who've lagged behind in vaccination rates,” Scott said. “I understand why some may not have felt the urgency yet, but now is your time to do the right thing. We're counting on you to help us lift restrictions early.”
Those include gathering sizes, masks, social distancing and curfew at bars, restaurants and social clubs.
“So let's keep our momentum going. Let's finish strong. Let's continue to show the nation and the world what this brave little state is capable of," Scott said.
Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have all decreased because of vaccinations, said Health Commissioner Dr. Levine. There are currently no outbreaks in Vermont's long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings, he said.
“So clearly the theme is that the more people who are vaccinated the fewer there are to transmit the virus to others including to our kids who are too young to be vaccinated yet," Levine said. "This means we in Vermont can really suppress the virus, keeping it at such low levels it will have far less impact on all of our lives.”
The state will be in better shape in the fall and winter, when people are back indoors, he said. Variants are still circulating and things can change quickly with this virus, he said.
If the state does not reach 80% before July 4, the state will still drop all restrictions by the date, Scott said.
THE NUMBERS Vermont reported 37 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, for a statewide total to date of more than 24,060.
A total of nine people were hospitalized with three 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 about 67 new cases per day on May 5 to about 43 new cases per day on May 19.