MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott gave a big incentive to Vermonters to get vaccinated on Friday.
“If we hit 80% [vaccinated], I’ll lift any remaining restrictions or mandates that day,” Scott said during his twice-weekly press conference updating the public on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to state officials, 74.9% of Vermont’s population that is eligible for vaccination has received at least one dose. In order to reach 80%, 27,954 people need to be vaccinated, Scott said.
“We have a chance to get back to normal faster, and it’s never been easier,” Scott said, noting that restrictions will be lifted regardless on July 4 under the Vermont Forward reopening plan.
Of the eligible Vermonters remaining to be vaccinated, Scott said those age 18 to 29 could have the biggest impact on reaching the 80% goal. He said the daily vaccination average has been 2,500 after decreasing in recent weeks. However, even if the state were averaging 1,500 vaccinations per day, remaining restrictions could feasibly be lifted by June 8, Scott said.
To that end, the state is continuing to push vaccine accessibility. Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said the state will enact a four-phase outreach approach to vaccinate any remaining Vermonters. As of Friday, 412,806 have been vaccinated.
The strategy includes greater availability of popup clinics, more walk-in vaccination options, and distribution of vaccines to primary care physicians.
“As you can see, the strategy is designed to reach out to as many Vermonters as possible … in the places they work, play and live,” Smith said.
Smith also noted that 31 fire departments and EMS providers across the state will be offering walk-in clinics over the weekend in honor of EMS Week. Locally, clinics are scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Franklin Town Hall and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Enosburg Public Safety.
Public schools have also wrapped up the first week of vaccine clinics, with 73 taking place since Monday, according to Secretary of Education Dan French. He said the Agency of Education is working with school districts to encourage fun activities at clinics, including coupons for creemees.