Vermont to require COVID vaccines for some state employees
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is going to require that state employees who work with vulnerable populations be vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday.
Scott said he changed his mind about requiring the vaccine for a portion of the state workforce because of how the highly transmissible delta strain of the virus is responsible for most new cases in the state.
“It’s shown how quickly it can spread,” Scott said of the delta variant during his regular Tuesday virus briefing. “We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable, those under our care, and I think those in the veterans’ home, the psychiatric hospital as well as the offenders in the correctional facilities, they are under our care.”
Scott said there would be “some sort of an exit ramp” for those who don’t want to be vaccinated. It could be regular testing or something else that hasn’t been determined yet.
Scott said he did not know about how many state employees the requirement would cover. He also said he did not expect to have to expand that requirement to other state employees.
The number of new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 is continuing to increase across Vermont and the number of hospitalizations is also increasing, with the overwhelming majority of the new cases among those who have not been vaccinated, officials said.
Almost 90% of the new cases that have been analyzed are the delta variant.
Of those who are hospitalized, 75% were not vaccinated.
Officials continue to encourage the approximately 85,000 Vermonters who have not been vaccinated to begin the vaccination process.
Vermont continues to lead the nation with the highest percentage of the eligible population and the overall population vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of Tuesday 84.6% of the eligible population — those 12 and over — has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 75.4% of the eligible Vermonters are fully vaccinated. Both those figures lead the nation.
On Tuesday the Vermont Department of Health 83 new cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to more than 25,660.
There were 24 people hospitalized, including nine in intensive care. The state reported one additional fatality, bringing the statewide total to 263.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 24.14 new cases a day on July 25 to 76.14 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.
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.