Vermont has pushed up the date to Saturday for people ages 16 to 18 to start signing up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, a few days earlier than originally planned, Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday.
“As you know, I've made getting kids back in school a priority. This step will help give those kids the opportunity to register for Pfizer doses,” the only vaccine they're eligible for, he said during his twice-weekly virus briefing. Registration opens at 10 a.m.
Vaccine eligibility for all Vermonters 16 and older opens Monday. This week the state opened registration to people 30 and older, and as of Friday morning, nearly 18,000 in that age group had made appointments.
This week, the state also suspended for another week the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Vermont, after federal government health advisers declared that they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot. All Vermont appointments for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been canceled through April 23, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.
“At this point we don't feel this week's delay will impact overall schedule for vaccine completion,” he said.
The Health Department has reached out to people who were scheduled to get the vaccine to reschedule their appointments, he said. If previously scheduled people have not been contacted by the Health Department, they can reach the vaccine call center at 855-722-7878.
“The department is working hard to open as many additional appointments as possible for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and expects everyone impacted by the pause will be able to get an appointment by the end of April,” Smith said. Anyone who scheduled an appointment with CVS or Walgreens should follow the pharmacies instructions for rescheduling, he said.
Vermont reported 141 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, for a statewide total since the pandemic began of more than 21,800.
A total of 26 people were hospitalized with three in intensive care.
The Health Department reported two additional deaths, bringing the total to 242.
The majority of the deaths in April were in hospitalized individuals with pre-existing illnesses, said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. The age range of the individuals was from mostly 50 to 90 and older and the majority were not fully vaccinated, he said.
"Each and every one represents much more than a statistic and we extend our sympathies to family and friends," Levine said.
The AP 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 186.86 on March 31 to 142.14 on April 14.
The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 0.57 on March 31 to 1.43 on April 14.