On August 11, 2021

Gov. Scott announces plan to require vaccinations for some state employees

By Ethan Weinstein and Erin Petenko/VTDigger

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, Governor Phil Scott announced that Vermont will require state employees at prisons, psychiatric facilities, and the Vermont Veterans’ Home to get vaccinated against Covid or face additional restrictions.

Though the details are yet to be worked out, the mandate will not be “forced,” meaning employees will have additional options to avoid vaccination, if they so choose.

Scott praised businesses that had issued vaccine mandates. “I think this is a good idea,” he said, and encouraged more businesses to follow suit. Without vaccinations, businesses risk confronting staffing issues if employees become exposed to Covid, he said.

Rising cases

The state reported 538 Covid-19 cases in the past week, up from 293 the previous week. That marked the fifth straight week in which case growth has been above 50%, according to a presentation from Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Dept. of Financial Regulation.

Cases are concentrated among unvaccinated people, but vaccinated Vermonters are testing positive, too. Currently, the case rate for unvaccinated Vermonters is between 15 to 20 cases per 100,000 people, compared to about 5 per 100,000 people for vaccinated Vermonters.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said 75% of the 24 hospitalized Vermonters were unvaccinated. Roughly 25% of the entire population in the state is unvaccinated. (Covid hospitalizations tend to be more frequent among people over age 65, and less than 10% of that age group remains unvaccinated.)

Vaccinating at schools

The state plans to continue hosting pop-up vaccination sites across the state with a specific focus on schools over the next two months.

Currently, only 65% of kids 12-15 have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. That number is 73.1% for children 16-17.

Vaccine clinics will be present in all school districts this early fall, for a current schedule of clinics visit mountaintimes.info.

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