Vermonters aged 40 and over are eligible starting this week to make an appointment to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
The Vermont Health Department website will begin accepting appointments for the new age band at 8:15 a.m. Monday.
The current vaccination schedule allows people over age 50 to be vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday, the age will drop to 40, with all Vermonters over age 16 eligible on April 19.
The vaccines have not been approved for use in children.
Gov. Phil Scott has urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. He believes that if the vaccine supply remains adequate, by July 4, once all adults have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, life in Vermont will largely return to pre-pandemic normal.
Vermont officials are also asking people to keep up with the measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. While Vermonters are waiting to get vaccinated they should be smart about limiting their interactions with others, wearing masks, keeping a distance from others and getting tested when not feeling well.
Many of Vermont's new cases of the virus are among young people who are less likely to suffer serious consequences or death from COVID-19.
“The key to ending the pandemic is for all of us to get vaccinated,” said Mike Pieciak, the Vermont commissioner of Financial Regulation who has been monitoring the COVID-19 statistics during the pandemic. “This individual action will have a significant collective impact.”
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A vaccination clinic will be held for veterans and Department of Homeland Security employees at Middlebury College next weekend.
The White River Junction Veterans Affairs Healthcare System will be administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the college's athletic complex on Saturday.
Veterans and pre-registered DHS employees must make appointments first to get the shot. DHS employees must register with their leadership before making an appointment, officials said.
"Partnerships within our communities across Vermont and New Hampshire are the key components in our vaccination deployment,'' said Dr. Becky Rhoads, acting director for White River Junction VA Healthcare System, in a written statement.