Covid 19

COVID-19 Vaccine

(image via UVM Health Network)

As many of you likely have heard, two COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, have received emergency use authorization and now are being distributed across the nation. Vermont is receiving limited supplies of the vaccines on a weekly basis, and will continue to receive further supplies in the coming weeks and months. Both the CDC and Vermont Department of Health still are determining how the vaccines will be distributed, strategies, and priorities for distribution. 

Who qualifies now? What group is next?

The State of Vermont’s distribution plan includes various phases – each anticipating increasing availability of vaccine - to prioritize distribution. 

The Current Phase includes:

  • People of Vermont aged 75 or older (just added: January, 25, 2021)
  • Frontline healthcare workers
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Long-term care staff who have direct patient contact
  • Emergency medical service personnel and responders

Following Phases, dates TBD:

  • People of Vermont aged 70 or older
  • People of Vermont aged 65 or older

Important: Testing locations are not offering vaccinations. You must register for a vaccine through the Vermont Department of Health in order to receive one. Please read below for further details.  

The CDC continues to release distribution recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts, which the Vermont Department of Health then uses as a framework for determining local distribution practices. 
 

MORE INFORMATION ON ELIGIBILITY   
 

How can I sign up for the vaccine? Will I get notified?

The current phase requires registration by phone or online through the Vermont Department of Health. Individuals will not be notified personally by the Department of Health, but may receive word of availability through local media, their employers or healthcare offices. 

Important:

  • Registration requires individual email addresses for each person. If you share an e-mail with your spouse, we suggest that one of you register normally and list the other person as a "dependent" in the registration form.
  • Vaccines are being distributed at various locations across Chittenden County by appointment only and are NOT currently offered at any COVID-19 testing locations.  

 

Register for a Vaccine   
 

How much does a vaccine cost?

COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Vermonters, including those who do not have health insurance. You may be asked for health insurance information, but it is not a requirement for receiving the vaccine. 

When will the vaccine become publicly available?

We do not yet know when the vaccine will be widely available. National estimates for widespread vaccine availability for the general public range from April to mid-summer 2021. For children under the age of 16, vaccine availability may take even longer as studies are still being conducted on younger age groups. Please remain vigilant and protect family and neighbors by continuing to wear masks, social distance, avoid social gatherings, and take other life-saving precautions.

How many people in Vermont have been vaccinated so far?

Want to see current data? Visit the Vermont Department of Health vaccine data dashboard. 

 

VIEW VACCINE DATA DASHBOARD

 

How does the vaccine work?

(image via FDA website)

These specific vaccines are mRNA (Messenger RNA) vaccines, which teach and instruct our cells how to make a protein, or even just a fragment of a protein, which helps trigger an immune response inside our bodies when exposed to the virus. mRNA never enters the center (nucleus) of the cell, which is where genetic material is stored; it will not affect or change your DNA. This vaccine also is not a live virus and therefore cannot give you COVID-19. You may read the resources below for more detailed descriptions on how the vaccines work. 

Further Resources:

 

What should I expect when getting the vaccine?

The two currently approved COVID-19 vaccines are given in two doses, within 3-4 weeks of each other.  Wondering what symptoms and side effects people might get after receiving the vaccine? Watch the video above on what to expect. 

Further Resources:

 

What do I need to do after getting vaccinated?

(image via CDC

Once the vaccine is administered, the CDC recommends that people continue to use personal protective equipment such as masks and to take precautionary safety measures, such as physical distancing, hand washing, and following state safety and travel guidance. It will take time to receive both doses of the vaccine and for the body to build an immunity to the virus over a number of weeks, which is common with any vaccination. Due to the fact that the vaccines will be distributed nationally and globally over a period of many months, it may take time for COVID-19 prevalence to reduce and pandemic status to conclude. While we have learned a great deal about the virus over the past year, unknowns still exist related to vaccine-induced immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. By using multiple layers of protections and precautions against the virus, our chances of eliminating the prevalence of COVID-19 is that much better.    
 

COVID-19 Vaccine Informational Websites:

 

CDC Vaccine Page     

 

Vermont Department of Health Vaccine PaGe       

 

UVM Health Vaccine Page