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Rapid vaccine distribution in Vermont

By Jacob Perkins

Staff Writer

On March 13, 2020, St. Michael’s College students were sent home for Spring break, and wouldn’t return due to the national outbreak of COVID-19. One year later, a vaccine for the virus that has taken over 500,000 lives is being distributed nationwide.

The time for students to get vaccinated is approaching. According to the Vermont Department of Health, the vaccine will be available to any Vermonter 16 years and older beginning on April 19.
While many students are waiting to receive their vaccine, there are a few who received theirs earlier.

Christain Vogt ’23, received his vaccine due to his role within the St. Michael’s College Fire Department.

“Initially…I kind of thought it [COVID-19] was something like a flu and probably not that bad, until I actually did some research,” he said. Vogt learned about the preliminary results and potential fatality rates, and discovered just how serious it really was. “Then I was like, oh no, this is actually something bad,” he said.

“After the first one [dose], my arm was sore for a day. After the second one, I felt like I had caught a bad flu for a day and a half,” he said “The night was pretty rough and the day after that, but after that it went as quickly as it came.”

Kurt Dirmaier ’23 also received the vaccine, and said that he experienced mild symptoms after the second dose. “I felt pretty tired for about a day,” he said.

Rosemary Marr ’23 who has chronic Lyme Disease, wanted to get the vaccine to not only protect herself, but others as well. “I wanted to get the vaccine because both my mom and I have compromised immune systems, so if either of us got sick it would be really scary,” she said.
Marr said she would feel awful if she was an asymptomatic carrier and transmitted it to someone else.

On March 29, Mary Masson stated, via email, that “there is no indication from the State of Vermont that colleges will hold vaccine clinics for students before May. That said, all persons 16 years of age and older can register for the vaccine as of April 19.”

When asked if it will be mandatory for students to have the vaccine next fall, Mary Masson answered via email, “We’re not sure yet. Stay tuned!”

At a press conference on March 30, Governor Phil Scott stated in a press conference that college students in Vermont who “maintain their out-of-state status” cannot be vaccinated.

Out-of-state college students would be considered state residents if they stay in Vermont over the summer.

Liz Winterbauer, a public health instructor at St. Michael’s College, stated that “there is no public health rationale for this decision.” Winterbauer further commented, “Everyone in the state is transmitting the virus, and what we need to do right now is reduce transmission.”

Mary Masson, of the Bergeron Wellness Center, when asked about this statement said, “Know that we as colleges are fighting hard on this issue.”

After receiving a vaccine, the Vermont Department of Health advises people to continue using face masks and practice social distancing. New strains of the virus are still emerging, and further research must be done to see how effective the vaccines are against them, according to the Vermont Department of Health.

The B117 strain or the U.K. strain, poses a 61 percent higher risk of a 28 day mortality and is more contagious than the original strain.

As of April 4, there have been 30.7 million confirmed cases and 554,000 confirmed deaths in the United States. To put in perspective, 554 thousand is 88.7 percent of the population of Vermont
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, stated at a White House briefing, “I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” due to rising cases in the U.S.

According to the CDC, the U.S had reached 60,000 COVID-19 cases a day and cases have risen quickly in the north east.

As college President Lorraine Sterritt stated at the March 25 Town Hall, though the vaccines are a “light at the end of this long tunnel… we are regrettably not out of the woods.”

To register for a vaccine appointment, visit www.healthvermont.gov the Vermont Department of Health’s website, click COVID-19,” After, press “Vaccine” on the left sidebar, then click “Vaccine appointments.”

A driver’s license or any form of state-issued ID that contains name, age, state residency, and health insurance, if possible, is necessary for an appointment.

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