By Guy Page
Vermont is first in the nation in these key vaccination categories, state officials announced today:
- Children ages 5-11 who have received or are signed up for their first shot (about one-third), White House officials told Gov. Phil Scott this morning.
- Booster shots for adults age 65 or older (48%), according to Dept. of Health statistics released today.
- Doses administered per 100,000 (163,427)
- Fully vaccinated eligible population (72%)
- Fully vaccinated adults age 65 or older (98%)
Yet even though Vermont is “leading the nation, once again,” as Gov. Scott proudly stated today, the state is experiencing:
- the highest seven day rate of new cases in the nation (1,475/100K).
- 42% more cases over the last seven days and a 55% increase over the last 14 days, with that rate expected to further increase this month
- An eight percent hospitalization rate increase among the fully vaccinated, compared to a 15 percent decrease among the unvaccinated
- 20 times as many cases on most October-November 2021 days compared with the same days the year before, when no vaccine was in place
- 103 total cases of Covid-19 in the state’s uber-vaccinated nursing homes.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine stepped forward at Gov. Scott’s press conference today to try to answer the obvious question he said he’s heard from others and has been asking himself: “Why are we seeing so many cases here in Vermont right now?” He offered these answers:
- The Delta Variant spreads quickly and infects vaccinated people. “This version of Covid-19 is incredibly contagious…spreading far faster than the original strain….. Delta has allowed a certain smaller amount of transmission even among vaccinated people.”
- Lack of natural immunity, due to vaccination success. Vermont is a “victim of our own success” vaccinating its population early and often. “Not many people got a level of immunity from having the virus,” Levine said. “We estimate that three percent or less of the population had any immunity to the Delta virus.”
- Vermont’s population is older than the national average, and immunity wanes more quickly among the elderly.
- “Our behavior has changed,” Levine said. “We are mobile…we are gathering more, especially indoors as the temperature goes down.”
Levine said the surge in non-Covid admittals to Vermont’s ICU beds is not due to any vaccine reactions – which he cited as myocarditis and blood clots – but are due mostly to other diseases caused by delayed health care treatment due to pandemic restrictions.