Sex, race vax disparity continues
16-year-old registration begins today
by Guy Page
Last week, several Vermont Daily readers wondered why they had not been offered a vaccine during a recent hospital stay. Health Commissioner Mark Levine said Friday April 16 the state’s vaccination plan gives hospitals just a niche role.
“Hospitals are getting some allocation of vaccine right now,” Levine explained during the twice-weekly press conference. “The goal of that is mainly for their emergency room setting where they may see somebody who is vulnerable and may not actually have any other contact with the health care system and this provides a great opportunity to begin their vaccine process.”
The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was particularly suited for that purpose, he said. (State officials announced Thursday that Vermont will follow the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and extend the pause on the J&J vaccine through this Friday, April 23. The federal pause is in place to allow the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices the time it needs to gather more data about reported side effects.)
Hospitals also are vaccinating patients being discharged to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, Levine said.
“We wanted to make sure there was a ready way for those patients to have vaccine,” Levine said. “Yes, we could deliver vaccine to the nursing homes, etc., but this is really nice to be able to build it into a hospital stay.
So, no, we’re not encouraging hospitals to become the prime vaccinators right now. We have a huge pharmacy workforce. We have a huge state public health workforce. We have all of our mass vaccination sites. The hospital itself doesn’t have to be a major component of the vaccine strategy now.”
* * * * * *
At present, 52% of all Vermonters 16 and over have been vaccinated, according to the Vermont Dept. of Health Covid vaccine dashboard. An estimated 80% of all Vermonters 60 and older have been vaccinated. Bennington County has the highest vaccination rate with 56.8%, Essex the lowest with 42.9%.
Despite the state’s commitment to universal vaccination for all black Vermonters, the rate of vaccination for white Vermonters is still about 50% higher: 52% for whites, 34% for blacks. Native Americans trail far behind with just 15% vaccinated.
Females are 25% more vaccinated (58% of total) than men (46%).
As of today, all remaining age groups – from age 16 and up – will be able to make vaccine appointments, the Health Department announced.
The 16-18 age group was moved up two days ahead of schedule to allow 16- and 17-year olds greater opportunity to get appointments for the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine they can receive. Eighteen-year-olds can get Pfizer or Moderna, but were included in the group since many are high school seniors, officials said.
“As you know, I’ve made getting kids back into school a priority,” said Governor Phil Scott.
“This step will help give those kids the opportunity to register for Pfizer doses a bit earlier, which is their only vaccine option at this time, and possibly enjoy the end of the school year in a more normal way.”
Vermont has had 242 Covid-related deaths, or 1.1% of all cases. At present 26 Covid-related cases are hospitalized, with five in the ICU, according to the Health Department’s Covid-19 dashboard.
Screenshot of Commissioner Mark Levine from Vermont Health Dept. video interview.