MONTPELIER — Officials say the state is a little more than 3,100 vaccinations away from reaching 80% of the eligible population with at least one dose.
At his regular Tuesday news conference, Gov. Phil Scott said as of Monday, that number is 79.4%.
“Leaving us just 3,139 more to go before we hit 80%. And at that point, all remaining restrictions will be dropped,” Scott said.
The governor said there are dozens of walk-in vaccine clinics available across the state and again urged residents to get vaccinated. Scott said he attended such a clinic at Thunder Road on Friday and another in St. Albans on Saturday.
Because of the state’s vaccination progress, Scott said there are only two people in Vermont who are hospitalized with the virus and cases are the lowest they’ve been in eight months.
“So we need to keep this up. Keep pushing and keep leading the nation,” he said.
Michael S. Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, said he was happy to report Vermont is the safest state in the country for the second week in a row when it comes to the pandemic. Pieciak said there were 61 new cases in the past week, a decrease of 33 cases from the week prior.
He said the state ranks first in percentage of the eligible population with at least one vaccine dose, percentage of the entire population with at least one dose at 70.1% and percentage fully vaccinated at 57.5%.
After making his initial remarks, the governor left the news conference to attend his weekly call with other governors and the White House about the pandemic response. He later returned and said the federal government has raised concerns about misinformation regarding the vaccines.
“I want to remind folks, if you have questions, if you’ve seen rumors or claims online about the vaccine being unsafe, think about reaching out to your family doctor who you trust and ask those questions. Because vaccines are safe and if you’re reading something on Facebook you haven’t seen anywhere else, it’s probably not true,” he said.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said it’s been a year since the original clinical trials for the vaccines began and there haven’t been any long-term adverse effects reported. Levine said it’s “totally fine” to have questions or doubts about the vaccines.
“You should have the information you need. I urge you to get your answers from trusted sources. It’s easy to fall prey to misinformation and we simply can’t afford to let those who spread it set us back in our efforts to keep us all safe and healthy,” the commissioner said.
He said the frequently asked questions section of his department’s website at healthvermont.gov has information inspired by the questions Vermonters ask the department daily.