MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont will be ready to begin providing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 within days of its use being authorized by the federal government, officials said Tuesday.
On Monday, federal regulators recommended using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-old kids. A federal vaccine advisory committee is expanded to act on the recommendation Wednesday.
The actual vaccinations could begin being administered to adolescents as soon as possible after approval, "certainly this week," Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine during the briefing.
Meanwhile vaccination clinics are being planned for more than 40 schools and adolescents will be able to get the vaccine at any location that offers the Pfizer vaccine.
There are about 27,000 Vermonters in the 12-15 age group.
To help ensure the state has enough vaccine to meet the demand, Smith said Vermont is is ordering 4,480 doses of vaccine above its regular allotment through a federal program that is reallocating doses from other states that don't want them.
Vermont is making good progress in vaccinating its population and the state ranks first in the country in a number of categories that measure how many people in states are getting vaccinated.
If the trend continues the state could lift its state of emergency earlier than currently planned, but more needs to be done, Gov. Phil Scott said during the briefing. The state is now aiming to lift restrictions July 4.
"Fortunately we are in a good place and if, and only if, Vermonters step up and get vaccinated we could get out of this sooner than we had thought and hoped for," Scott said.
IN-PERSON BOARD MEETINGS
The St. Johnsbury select board is going to be resuming in-person meetings later this month after holding its meetings remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board voted unanimously on Monday to resume in-person meetings May 24, although it will keep a remote participation option available for people who are not comfortable attending in person.
"The board and town officials have all been vaccinated so spacing is not as important as it used to be — but we'll still be maintaining some social distance," said Board Chairman Kevin Oddy.
The Caledonian-Record reports the five-member board is still working out the details of how it will conduct its meetings.
The move comes as more and more Vermonters are being vaccinated against COVID-19 and the number of new cases in the state has been dropping.
Gov. Phil Scott has set a tentative date of July 4 for when the state can largely remove the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic.
On Tuesday the Vermont Health Department reported 52 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, raising the statewide total since the pandemic began to more than 23,600.
There were a total of 14 people hospitalized, including three in intensive care.
The state reported two more COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 251.
The Associated Press is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 72.14 new cases per day on April 25 to 54.71 new cases per day on May 9.
The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 0.29 deaths per day on April 25 to 0.14 deaths per day on May 9.