State to give COVID-19 vaccinations in Vergennes & Middlebury
MONTPELIER — Beginning today, Monday, Jan. 25, Vermonters who are age 75 and older can make an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccinations site — including ones in Middlebury and Vergennes — will begin getting shots in arms on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
People in this age group are asked to go online at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine to make an appointment to be vaccinated.
Making an appointment online is the fastest way to get signed up.
Eligible Vermonters will be asked to create an account on the website, then log in to make their appointment. Family members and friends are strongly encouraged to assist their loved ones with online registration, as needed.
“We are asking children and grandchildren to help those 75 and older make online reservations,” Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said in announcing the move to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccinations effort in Vermont.
A call center will open at noon today for anyone who is unable to register online or who needs to speak with someone in a language other than English. These Vermonters can call, toll-free, 1-855-722-7878. Going forward, the
call center hours will be Monday to Friday 8:15 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday 10 a.m.– 3 p.m.
Vermonters should not call their health care provides or hospitals directly to make an appointment.
Vaccinations in this phase will begin January 27 at Health Department clinics and other locations around the state. Registrants will choose a location when making their appointment. There are no walk-ins. Appointments are required to receive a vaccine.
People who receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine will get either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Like when receiving other immunizations, most people will be asked to wait for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to watch for reactions. They will also be given information about side effects and how to report any adverse reactions.
After getting their first dose, clinic staff will help people make an appointment to receive their second dose. Getting fully vaccinated with both doses provides the best protection against the virus.
During a Friday press conference with Gov. Phil Scott this past Friday, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith gave the following advice:
When you call to make a vaccination appointment have insurance card ready. Those we don’t have insurance will still be able to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are free.
You will be asked to give your name, date of birth, address (only Vermont residents 75 and older will get the vaccine), email address (if you have one), phone number and primary insurance information.
You will also be asked some medical questions about whether you:
--have any history of allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies
--are currently sick with COVID-19
--have recently had any other vaccines
--have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners
--are breastfeeding or lactating
Pick the vaccination site closest to your home, Smith urged. You can see the 54 vaccination sites by clicking here. The Department of Health said they will have vaccination centers in Vergennes (at Kinney Drugs on Monkton Road) and Middlebury (at American Legion Post 27 on Wilson Road and at Kinney Drugs on Court Street). You will get your exact location when you register. Porter Hospital is not administering COVID-19 vaccines to the community at this time, the hospital said.
You can register only one person at a time online and via phone, “So if you have a spouse or partner and you are both 75 or older you will have to register separately,” Smith said. If you register one right after the other, it is very likely that you can both get spots for vaccination at the same time and place, so you won’t have to make multiple trips, he said.
He said that the registration will take a few minutes, perhaps longer than some people will be expecting. But by collecting more information up front, the Department of Health will be able to move people through the actual vaccination relatively quickly, Smith said.
He urged people to get to their vaccination appointments to arrive on time. When a person goes to their vaccination appointment, he said the following will take place:
1. You will be asked your name and date of birth.
2. You will sign a waiver.
3. You will be vaccinated.
4. You will stay for 15 minutes to monitor for a reaction to the vaccine.
5. You will get scheduled for second dose, which will take place in three weeks for the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for the Moderna vaccine.
“We cannot accommodate walk-ins,” Smith said.
If people don’t show up and there is left over vaccine, Smith said the state is planning an internal list of backup people who get be inoculated so that no vaccine doses are spoiled.
There is no “list” to which individual Vermonters could sign up, he explained. The list will be generated internally from lists of people in Phase 1A (health care providers, first responders and people at long-term care homes) who have not yet been vaccinated, plus people who are homebound and cannot get to a vaccination site. Between 65% and 92% of Vermont hospital workers have been vaccinated, varying by individual hospitals.
“There is no wait list, let’s be clear,” Smith said. “There will be enough slots for everyone in this age group — age 75 and above.”
Officials reminded Vermonters to please continue taking preventative steps even after they get vaccinated to insure that they don’t unwittingly pass on the coronavirus to other Vermonters who have not been vaccinated.
There are 49,833 Vermonters age 75 and older. Gov. Scott and his administration said it should take around five weeks to get all of those in this age group who want a shot to get their shot.
Dr. Levine said there are more than 125,000 Vermonters age 65 and older, including 42,000 age 65-69. That group — 65 and up — is targeted to get vaccinated by the end of spring.
The COVID-19 vaccine supply from the federal government is still limited, which is why vaccinations are being rolled out in phases, beginning with those who are most likely to experience severe illness and death from COVID-19. The Health Department will provide more information about registration for the next eligible groups when it is available.
States are receiving roughly the same number of doses from the federal government, on a percentage of population basis. Vermont is a national leader in the rate of vaccinations distributed and administered. And Vermont is the first state in the country to have a higher percentage of its population vaccinated than the percentage of residents who have been infected with the virus.
It is important for Vermonters to know that other states that have broader eligibility strategies do not have a larger supply of vaccine. This has caused frustration, confusion, shortages and delays in these states. Vermont’s age-banding approach is intended to avoid these complications, while protecting those most at risk of severe illness or death.