Vermont hospital chief: Vaccine could be available in 3 to 4 months

Vermont News

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) — As Vermont and the nation inch closer to the widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, UVM Medical Center President Dr. Stephen Leffler believes the rollout can be completed in a relatively short period of time.

“I would be surprised if most Vermonters who want a dose don’t have it within – I’m going to guess at this, I don’t know this for sure – but between 3 to 4 months,” Dr. Leffler said. “I think there will be enough vaccine in Vermont for most of us who want to be vaccinated to at least get their first dose.”

Dr. Leffler made the comments on Wednesday during Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger’s COVID-19 briefing.

Weinberger announced that the city has entered an agreement with Vermont health officials to redirect 15 city employees to the State’s contact tracing team. They’ll begin Monday, and continue three days a week for at least six weeks.

“There are six or seven departments that are contributing people,” said Burlington Chief Innovation Officer Brian Lowe. “It’s been a condensed training program, so they will be contact tracing very quickly after that training period. There are a lot of logistics involved in something like this, and I don’t think there’s really a precedent.”

Weinberger also announced additional opportunities for people to get a free COVID-19 test. The city has conducted over 280 tests per day at its pop-up location on Pine Street.

“This Friday and next Friday, there will be additional supplemental pop-up testing in the Old North End at the North End Studios,” Weinberger said. “There will be testing at the O’Brien Community Center in Winooski that is every day this week and net week, and the timing is still being finalized beyond that.”

There will be interpreters available at all three pop-up testing sites.

Although Weinberger and Dr. Leffler said the city has avoided a “consistent exponential climb” in COVID-19 cases related to Thanksgiving travel, they urged anyone who did travel to other households to get tested.

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