State Continues Push To Vaccinate In NEK

State officials noted the importance of ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts, even as Vermont enjoys the highest overall vaccination rate in the country, and new features on the Health Department website show a number of walk-in and popup vaccination sites across the Northeast Kingdom.

This week Gov. Phil Scott noted it is not too late to get your vaccination and that the more people who get vaccinated now the better off the state will be should the more highly contagious delta variant take root in the state.

According to the Health Department, 7 recent cases have been identified as being caused by the delta variant of COVID-19, which is the underlying cause of rising cases in less vaccinated parts of the country.

“We don’t have a lot of community spread because most people are vaccinated,” said Gov. Scott.

“I think we are in a pretty good place at this point,” he added, even considering the context of children under 12 not being eligible for vaccination.

According to the Health Department, vaccination rates have increased slightly in the Northeast Kingdom since the beginning of the month, with several hundred more NEK residents starting vaccination in the last few weeks. The Health Department has admitted challenges reporting exact vaccination rates for the region because some were vaccinated in New Hampshire.

“We did do some conferring with New Hampshire. They have a new registry and we’ve had a little trouble making sure that we are reconciling the data appropriately and there’s no duplication,” said Levine. The Health Department estimated Essex County could be under-reported by 4 percent or more and Caledonia County under-reported by 2 percent. This would make the NEK’s vaccination rate between approximately 62.4 percent in Essex County and 72.5 percent in Caledonia County, an increase of under 1 percent since the beginning of the month. The statewide average is at 83.4 percent, reported the Health Department Friday.

There have only been 19 cases in the NEK in the month of July — 13 in Orleans, 3 in Caledonia and 3 in Essex. The cases were identified in Lunenburg, Lyndon, St. Johnsbury, Barnet, Charleston, Morgan, Derby and Coventry.

While cases are down from the spring peak, state officials continue to encourage Vermonters to get their vaccination.

Gov. Scott said all eligible Vermonters should get vaccinated, especially since children under 12 may not be eligible to receive a vaccine until perhaps September. “The best way for us to protect them is for us to continue to vaccinate the eligible — those 16.8 percent that are still un-vaccinated,” said Scott. “So we should all do our part. We are going to do our part to make it as accessible as possible and as easy as possible because it is never too late. This is a good day to get vaccinated and if it’s not today, make it tomorrow.”

The state has announced numerous vaccination opportunities in the Northeast Kingdom on a new Health Department website feature that maps many upcoming clinics.

Routine vaccination sites in the region include North Country Hospital, Walmart in Newport, the Walgreens and Kinney Drug pharmacy locations, and Northeast Vermont Regional Hospital.

Additional pop-up vaccination sites in the region include:

Glover Ambulance Bay: July 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Walden Fire Station: July 30, noon-2 p.m.

Hardwick Farmers Market: July 30, 3-6 p.m.

Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro: Aug. 6, 6-8:30 p.m.

Dog Mountain Summer Party: Aug. 7, 12:30-4 p.m.

Silvio Conte State Forest: Aug. 8, noon - 1:30 p.m.

DeBanville’s General Store, Bloomfield: Aug. 8, noon-4 p.m.

Canaan School: Aug. 8, 3-6 p.m.

Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro: Aug. 20, 6-8:30 p.m.

Orleans Fire Department: Aug. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Caledonia County Fair: Aug. 27-29

Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro: Aug. 28, 5-8 p.m.

Barton Fairgrounds: Sept. 8-12

For the latest on vaccination sites, visit healthvermont.gov.

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