At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Republican Gov. Phil Scott doubled down on his commitment to push booster shots on already vaccinated Vermonters and he expects schools to promote vaccinations for students ages 5-to-12 years old.
“I just got off the phone with fellow governors, the CDC director [Rochelle Walensky], Dr. Fauci, and White House officials,” Scott said. “We got an update on the booster rollout which they feel is going well, Dr. Fauci discussed the real-world data behind this decision which shows that a third dose has increased protection against protection by 11-fold.”
Vermont has the distinction as one the most vaccinated state in the nation. It’s also experiencing some of the highest case counts, including increased hospitalizations and deaths among vaccine recipients.
On booster shots, Scott said anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine more than six months ago can be eligible for another one. On shots for children, Pfizer is expected to call for special emergency status for its vaccines so that they can be used on children ages 5 to 11.
The governor updated his school masking recommendations. The plan had been to apply it until Oct. 1, then if a school has 80 percent vaccination status all those students can take their masks off. Scott extended this date by another month so that change occurs on Nov. 1.
The press conference can be watched here.
Scott implements this mask extension as Vermont Health Department data continues to show no risk of death for children. It’s widely reported that children rarely experience symptoms.
These are nonbinding recommendations by the administration, as there is not currently a state of emergency declared in Vermont. The governor said last week that the real data concerning COVID-19 doesn’t warrant a perpetual emergency status.
The decision to pursue emergency vaccination of young children comes as Project Veritas released undercover footage of scientist Justin Durrant and J&J’s Regional Business Lead Brandon Schadt sharing candidly why children should not take their company’s shots.
“It’s a kid, it’s a f—ing kid, you know? They shouldn’t have to get a f—ing [COVID] vaccine, you know?” Shadt said. He continues that nobody at any age should get the Johnson and Johnson shots.
Vermont continues to rely at least in part on the PCR COVID-19 test, which is still under scrutiny for producing large amounts of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.
Further complicating comparisons of vaccinated versus unvaccinated case counts is that the CDC has announced different standards for its accounting of COVID cases among the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. The CDC stopped monitoring all non-severe COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people since May, but they continue to count non-severe cases among the unvaccinated.
The administration cites high case counts when calling for more vaccination.
“You are 4.3 times more likely to get COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated,” Secretary of Education Dan French said.
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine shared that he expects life for Vermonters to return to normal at some point, but only after more comply with their mask and vaccine mandates.
“Unfortunately the coronavirus is one we likely will have to live with in the long term, eventually becoming just another one of those viruses that leads to annoying symptoms for most people, but we’re not there quite yet,” Levine said. “And we still need to work together to protect our communities and get more people vaccinated so we can get to a place where COVID is no longer a serious threat to our population.”