Mayor Miro Weinberger Applauds State’s Decision to Open Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility to All BIPOC Vermonters

March 30, 2021
Contact: Olivia LaVecchia
(802) 734-0617

Mayor Miro Weinberger Applauds State’s Decision to Open Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility to All BIPOC Vermonters

Burlington, VT – At Governor Scott’s regular press conference today, Vermont Department of Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD announced that starting this Thursday, all Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), along with their household members, will be eligible to make an appointment to receive the vaccines for Covid-19. In response to this news, Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement:

“I applaud the State’s decision to make all BIPOC Vermonters eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and fully support this step. BIPOC Vermonters are getting COVID-19 at a higher rate and being hospitalized at a higher rate than white non-Hispanic Vermonters. Nationally, BIPOC are dying at higher rates than white non-Hispanic people. This difference in health outcomes is the physical manifestation of systemic racism through inequitable access to health care, to wealth and security, to safe work environments and paid time off, and as a result of a legacy of injustice in our country that we must now face squarely. It is a public health emergency, it is older and deeper than the pandemic, and today’s attention to it must become our new normal and not an aberration if we are to live up to the ideals we have as a community, State, and country.

“Over the last two weeks, the City has been proud to support the work of partners – including the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, the Vermont Professionals of Color Network, Black Perspective, New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church, Winooski Strong, and UVM LEND – in leading a dedicated clinic in Burlington for BIPOC Vermonters and their households. While this strategy has helped get more than 500 BIPOC Vermonters and their households vaccinated, the Burlington clinic alone has not been enough. We know that in Chittenden County, there are more than 14,000 BIPOC residents 16 and over, and there are clear disparities  in our county between the vaccination rates of BIPOC residents and the rates of white non-Hispanic residents.

“For these reasons and others, for the past several weeks I have personally urged the Governor’s Office, Department of Health, and Agency of Human Services to open vaccine eligibility to all BIPOC Vermonters regardless of their age, occupation, or health condition. My advocacy has built on and been informed by the sustained and eloquent advocacy of many others, particularly  the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, which wrote a letter to the State in February asking for a pro-equity approach in vaccination policy. My office also organized a letter that was sent to Governor Scott and Commissioner Levine on March 16 urging them to take this step, which was signed by 30 organizational and community leaders in Chittenden County.

“I am very appreciative that the State has taken this important step to promote equity and racial justice and prioritize vaccinations for BIPOC Vermonters. It is critical for this commitment to equitable access to lifesaving interventions to continue beyond the pandemic. The City team will continue to do whatever we can to assist in getting more BIPOC residents access to the Covid-19 vaccine and to advocate for BIPOC residents.”

# # #

Press Release Date: 
City Department: 
Mayor's Office