BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) – It’s official, the first Vermonter has received the vaccine for COVID-19. High risk healthcare workers as well as staff and residents of long term care facilities are among the first to receive it.
“This marks the beginning of the end, but not the end,” Gov. Phil Scott. “That’s why we need to stay focused, especially as we continue to see around 100 new cases a day here in Vermont.”
Governor Scott says he’s extending Vermont’s state of emergency to January 15. The state is set to receive 5,850 doses of the vaccine on a weekly basis, but Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine says those who get vaccinated still need to continue taking precautions.
“This is because even if the virus protects you from illness we still don’t have enough information to know if you can transmit the virus to someone else,” Dr. Levine said.
Levine says it will be several months before any vaccine is available to the general public. Right now, the priority is healthcare workers and residents and staff of long term facilities. UVM Medical Center began vaccinating its front line workers on Dec. 15. Nurse Cindy Wamsganz is the first Vermonter to be vaccinated.
“I’m a true believer,” Wamsganz said. “I will do anything at this point to get ahead of this game.”
Wamsganz said it’s not the vaccine that’s scary, but rather this virus. She echoed state leaders in saying that while this is a start, we have to stay vigilant.
“To continue just staying strong and helping each other until we know the vaccine has covered many people and given us the positive outcome we’re hoping for,” she said.
Other hospitals around Vermont will begin vaccinating their staff Wednesday. Long-term care facilities are set to begin the process December 21.
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