One month into vax program, acceptance rate about 80%

By Guy Page

One month ago today, the first Vermonter was vaccinated for Covid-19. Since then, how many Vermonters have been vaccinated? Are Vermonters willing to be vaccinated? When will state officials be satisfied that “enough” Vermonters have been vaccinated?

Last question first. The Health Department hopes to vaccinate 75-80% of Vermonters, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at a press conference today. This will happen by “late summer or early fall,” depending on the success of the vaccination program, he said. 

Current vaccination rate of total population: 4.1% of all Vermonters have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine. That’s the sixth highest rate in the nation, according to January 13 CDC figures. The two Dakotas lead the nation with over 5%. Fellow New England states Maine and New Hampshire also have as high or higher a rate than Vermont. 

Total number of administered doses and recipients, to date: 35,000 doses have been administered to 30,000 people, Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said at the press conference this morning. 

The percentage of vaccines administered compared to total doses available is between 41% – 50%. The lower figure is claimed by the CDC, while the State of Vermont asserts the higher rate. 

Smith said this morning he is unsure why the CDC cites the lower number. Of the 69,000 doses received by the State of Vermont, only 100 are still in the state warehouse. He said pharmacies’ administration of the vaccines may account for some of the lag. Also, some released doses are second doses scheduled for recipients who had the first dose less than the requisite 30 days ago. 

Finally, about 60 doses have been wasted, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said. 

All senior care facilities have received their allotment of vaccines, Smith said. 

The current rate of vaccine acceptance is about 80% among senior home patients and health care workers, Levine said today. 

84% of eligible hospital staff have been vaccinated, University of Vermont Medical Center spokesperson Neal Goswami told Vermont Daily yesterday:

“The UVM Medical Center continues to administer the vaccine to eligible employees and community members, in alignment with guidance from the state of Vermont and the supplies we have available. As of Tuesday, nearly 6,000 employees out of 7,177 of those who are eligible have received their first dose, and we continue to administer doses to eligible employees. There is no mandatory requirement for employees to receive the vaccine at this time. We have also vaccinated 4,215 community members and health care workers that have been identified as part of the state’s guidance for phase 1A.”

Adverse effects of vaccination: through December, there were 25 adverse impacts reported, Levine said. Two individuals suffered shortness of breath. Most impacts were local, not systemic, and did not require medical attention. By that time about 25,000 doses had been administered.

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