by Guy Page
With release of a Covid-9 vaccine expected within two weeks, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said “there’s no talk of mandatory vaccination” in national advisory councils overseeing vaccination release.
At an August press conference, Levine said opinion of mandatory vaccination would depend in part on whether the vaccine would be both safe and effective. Now, vaccines appear “so far” to promise both: a rate of effectiveness of as high as 95%, and minimal side effects, limited to one-day low-grade fevers and discomfort at the injection site, he said at today’s press conference.
The initial release in December will bring about 25,000 doses to Vermont, to be distributed among high-priority recipients, including senior care facilities and health care providers.
Serious discussion of mandatory vaccination are more likely to occur next year, if vaccines have been given to willing participants but the total number of immune Vermonters still hasn’t risen to the 70% required for “herd immunity” to take effect, In Vermont, relatively low numbers of herd immunity would need to be compensated with higher rates of vaccination, Levine said.
According to a recent survey, 50-60% of health care workers would voluntarily receive vaccination, Levine revealed. Acknowledging that figure is below 70%, “I think it will grow” as people become more trusting of specific vaccines, he said.
A Nov. 17 Gallup poll claims 58% of Americans would be willing to get the vaccine, with highest numbers among seniors and Democrats. A previous poll set the number at 50%.