Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced that 80.2% of Vermont’s eligible population – those age 12 and older – have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first state to reach this major milestone.
Governor Scott also announced he has rescinded all state COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, Vermont’s State of Emergency, slated to expire on June 15, will not be renewed.
“Now that we have hit 80%, as promised and effective immediately, I am lifting all remaining state pandemic restrictions and the State of Emergency will formally end at midnight June 15,” announced Governor Scott at a press conference Monday. “And here’s why: Because it’s safe to do so. It is safe because Vermonters have done their part to keep spread of the virus low throughout the pandemic and stepped up to get vaccinated. In fact, no state in the nation is in a better or safer position to do this than we are.”
At 80% of the eligible population, Vermont has also administered at least one dose of vaccine to 81.8% of Vermonters aged 18 and older – exceeding President Biden’s goal of 70% of those 18 and older, and 70.8% of its total population. Vermont ranks first in the nation on the number of vaccines administered per capita, the percent of its population with at least one dose, and the percent of its population fully vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic, Vermont also has the lowest number of cases and deaths per capita in the continental U.S.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, explained the impact vaccination has had in this achievement, and joined Governor Scott in making clear the state would continue its robust vaccination efforts beyond this milestone.
“Our high vaccination rates will help keep coronavirus activity at historically low levels,” said Dr. Levine. “This means fewer chances for COVID to spread between people and throughout our communities, fewer if any hospitalizations, and, importantly, prevent more loss of life from the virus. It also means less opportunity for mutations and more virulent strains from developing. This protection is what is allowing us to lift restrictions today – that is public health at work – but that work is far from over. We will continue getting as many Vermonters vaccinated as possible to keep this protection as strong as we can.”
Following the Vermont Forward plan, all remaining state restrictions have been lifted, though some situations are governed by federal guidelines, like public transportation and long-term care facilities. The plan will continue to link to operational considerations for certain sectors from the Vermont Department of Health. Vermonters can find that information at Vermont.gov/Vermont-Forward.
To ensure continuation of federal funding for certain programs, as the Governor has previously indicated, he will also sign an Executive Order issued under his general authority. This order will continue Vermont National Guard involvement with COVID-19 recovery operations, ensure continued cooperation and coordination among state agencies as necessary and for the two-week period between the expiration of the Emergency Declaration and July 1, when recently enacted legislation makes it permanent, allow bars and restaurants to continue pick-up and delivery of alcoholic beverages.
The Governor and his team thanked Vermonters for their commitment and perseverance throughout the pandemic, and for their trust in the science, particularly throughout this vaccination effort.
They also recognized the many partners in this effort, including employees in agencies and departments across state government, Vermont’s state legislators and congressional delegation, the Vermont National Guard, healthcare providers and frontline workers, municipal leaders and more. On the vaccination effort specifically, it also included emergency medical service (EMS) crews, the Medical Reserve Corps, primary care providers, all Vermont hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, pharmacies, schools, colleges, businesses, congregate housing and equity support and advocacy groups, and more.
“The ingenuity, creativity and dedication of all Vermonters to their friends and families, to their neighbors and to their communities, has been incredible and we should all be very proud. Through it all, we’ve shown the nation and much of the world how to respond when there is no playbook, and how to do it with civility and respect,” added Governor Scott. “When America needs to find its path forward to solve problems and help people; when, in dark times, our country needs a state to light the way, Vermonters will always step up and lead the charge.”