MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — There is a push to vaccinate Vermont’s most vulnerable, and for some, this means extending the vaccines to anyone that lives in the same household.

The Vermont Department of Health set up pop-up clinics with UVM Medical Center to vaccinate refugees and immigrants who are 75 and older. Members in their immediate households are also eligible.

“Many household members who live with elders, in refugee and immigrant communities are generally their caregivers so it makes sense to extend it to household members,” Dr. Mercedes Avila, with UVM Medical Center said. 

To address concerns, educational sessions have occurred.

“We have held vaccine education outreach sessions, to answer any questions that communities might have or concerns related to accessing the vaccine,” Dr. Avila said. 

Vermont’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Tracy Dolan said it’s vital we gain the trust within communities that may be skeptical of vaccine safety.

“This is really grounded in the public health data that tells us that these more vulnerable communities in Vermont are three or four times more likely to be infected with COVID,” Dolan said. “More likely to be hospitalized, and nationally more likely to die from COVID.” 

The Health Department is working with the Association of Africans Living in Vermont for further outreach, about how this virus affects certain populations. “Higher rates of chronic disease, so we know in Vermont, that people of color generally have higher rates of chronic illness, so if they become infected with COVID they may be more likely to become ill or hospitalized,” Dolan said. 

Dolan said this is protecting us all. “But really it ends up protecting all of us, anything we do for anyone who is at risk in Vermont really ends up protecting all of us,” Dolan said.