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Vermont is expected to reach 80% of eligible residents vaccinated against COVID-19 in the next week to 10 days, prompting the governor to drop the remaining pandemic-related restrictions before July 4, state officials said Tuesday.
Gov. Phil Scott and state officials said they have been pleased with progress on vaccinations since the governor on Friday challenged the state to reach the 80% mark. As of Tuesday, 76.9% of Vermonters ages 12 and older had received at least one dose, state officials said, after discovering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had some duplicated numbers. That means another 17,250 residents need to start vaccines to hit the 80% target, they said.
“We’re heading toward a time when about three out of every four Vermonters will be vaccinated which significantly lowers the chance you’ll encounter someone who is unvaccinated,” Scott said. “The chance someone has COVID is getting lower every single day.”
The vaccination rate continues to lead to a decline in COVID-19 cases,
hospitalizations and deaths, officials said. Vermont went a week without a COVID-19-related death last week, one of the only states to do so, said Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, who has been following the COVID-19 trends for Vermont. The seven-day average of new cases has dropped 85% since April 1 and is the lowest rate in the last six months, he said. The state estimates 235 lives have been saved because of vaccines, Pieciak said.
Walk-in vaccination clinics are being held at the Essex fairgrounds, Berlin Mall, North Country Hospital in Newport, and at various schools this week. A vaccination event also takes place at Thunder Road in Barre on May 30 and at numerous state parks June 12, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith. The state also plans to bring vaccinations to mobile home parks.
This Memorial Day weekend, people who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did pre-pandemic, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said.
“You can get together with friends and family most likely without masks and distancing if you’re fully vaccinated,” he said. “You can grill, swim, boat with your friends and family. You can go to a farmers’ market, a concert, a car race or a baseball game. You can travel without having to get tested or quarantine upon your return to Vermont.”
Vermont reported nine new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, for a statewide total of more than 24,130 since the pandemic began.
Ten people were hospitalized with two in intensive care.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 54.71 new cases a day on May 9 to 30.71 new cases a day on Sunday.
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.
This story has been corrected to show the number of cases and hospitalizations for Tuesday, instead of Monday.
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.