About 78 percent of eligible Vermonters ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine against COVID-19 as of Saturday, Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday, nearing his goal of 80 percent when he will drop the remaining pandemic-related restrictions.
More than 11,345 residents need to get a shot to reach the goal, officials said. If 1,000 Vermonters get vaccinated a day, the restrictions will be lifted on June 11 while if double that are vaccinated daily, the full reopening would happen Saturday, officials said, noting that the vaccination rate has slowed in recent days.
“We’re just days away from hitting our goal,” Scott said at his weekly virus briefing. “Vermont continues to lead the nation but even after we hit 80 percent, we’re not going to declare victory. We’ll continue pushing forward because the better we do now, the better position we’ll be [in] for the long term.”
Vermont is the only state that hasn’t had a death from COVID-19 in two weeks and was down to three people hospitalized with the disease as of Tuesday morning, the governor said. The state’s hospitalization rate has dropped 37 percent over the last two weeks, said Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, who has been following the COVID-19 trends for Vermont.
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has decreased by more than half in the last week and 93 percent since April 1, he said. The state reported 92 new cases this week, while three weeks ago it reported 99 cases in a single day on May 7, Pieciak said.
The number of cases continues to decline in the Northeast, dropping nearly 35 percent in the last week and 86 percent decrease in the last five weeks, he said. The region’s number of deaths and hospitalizations also continues to drop, he said.
“We can track all this progress back to New England’s high uptake of the vaccine which continues to outpace the rest of the country,” Pieciak said.
Nearly 40 pop-up vaccination clinics taking walk-ins are being held around Vermont through Sunday, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said. More opportunities are listed on the Health Department’s website.
Lisa Rathke, The Associated Press