MONTPELIER — According to the Department of Public Health, Vermont ranks first in the nation for rate of vaccine administration, but while clinics are open, local officials have reported a drop in registration.
As of Monday, more than 62% of people eligible have received at least their first dose, and nearly 44% are fully vaccinated, says Ben Truman with the Vermont Department of Health.
“As more vaccine supplies come to Vermont, the more clinics are being opened, plus, we have been able to offer increasing numbers of walk-in clinics,” he says.
However, AmCare Director of Operations Clement Roger, who spent Monday operating one of those walk-ins in Fairfax, says registration has fallen off sharply.
“I’m promoting people signing up. Today I’m totally shocked. I only got 80 new shots. We were planning on 300,” says Roger.
Roger says he thinks this is in part due to skepticism over receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, though state officials say Vermont is among the top state’s in the nation in terms of vaccine acceptance.
“They’re fairly new, a lot of people have concerns that they were developed quickly … that’s the biggest fear. I keep telling people, ‘Yea ... they were developed fast, they also work 24/7-365 whereas any normal medication, they work eight-hours a day, four-days-a week or five-days-a-week, with a lunch break,” says Roger.
Truman notes that, especially for the younger, more recently eligible groups, like ages 16-29, the opportunities only opened up in the past week or so.
“Many have registered, and for the rest, it’s a matter of their realizing ‘it’s your turn, your shot is ready, come and get it.’” he says. “By and large, what we are seeing are people who have simply not yet gotten their vaccine, out of an increasing number of people eligible.”
Roger says AmCare, Northwestern Medical Center and NOTCH will continue holding multiple clinics each week — the next being May 17 in Fairfax.
“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated close to where you are and as soon as possible,” he says.