Vermont opening more shot clinic sites

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/1/2021 8:29:53 PM
Modified: 3/1/2021 8:29:51 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — As Vermonters 65 and older began registering for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at state-run and pharmacy sites on Monday, the state continued planning for the next stages of the vaccine rollout.

Vermont — which had previously been vaccinating Vermonters 70 and older, as well as health care workers and people in long-term care facilities — plans to expand vaccine clinics to include the state’s six Walmart locations beginning on Wednesday, and National Guard-run sites soon, the Vermont Department of Health said in an update for medical providers last week.

The state is already offering community vaccine clinics at the state’s 14 hospitals; through Health Department district offices; three federally qualified health centers including the Bradford, Vt.-based Little Rivers Health Care; 20 Kinney Drugs locations, including those in Bradford and Randolph; 31 Walgreens locations; as well as home health and emergency medical services.

The clinics have been offering Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and now that the Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use approval to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — which is one dose instead of two — the state expects to begin making that available as soon as Wednesday.

By the end of March, the next group that will be eligible for vaccination in Vermont is people with high-risk health conditions, including: current cancer; chronic kidney disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; heart disease; immunocompromised; severe obesity; pregnancy; Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; disabilities including chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome; intellectual disabilities; disabilities that compromise lung function; and sickle cell disease.

The Department of Health has not yet outlined exactly how that next phase will work. More information about COVID-19 vaccines in Vermont is online at

WRJ VA offers walk-in vaccine clinics

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The White River Junction VA Medical Center is slated to host two walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics for veterans in the Twin States this week, according to the VA’s Facebook page.

The first is scheduled to take place on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Littleton Elks Lodge on Main Street in Bethlehem, N.H. The second is scheduled to take place on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gate B Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, Vt. No appointments are required. The clinics may close early if they run out of vaccine.

To qualify, veterans must be 55 or older or essential workers. Veterans are required to be enrolled in VA health care and can do so by calling 802-295-9363 ext. 4004 or 5118.

Veterans should not get the COVID-19 vaccine if they have received any other vaccine in the past two weeks or plan to in the next six weeks; have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past three months; or if they have previously experienced an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine.

Second doses of the Moderna vaccine will be administered at the same site, 28 days after the first.

Quechee Balloon Festival moves to September

QUECHEE — The Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival will take place from Sept. 3 to Sept. 5 this year.

The annual event, which is hosted by the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce, was originally scheduled to take place June 18 to 20, according to a news release from the nonprofit organization. It was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After receiving the latest guidance from the State, we feel it is in the best interest, health and safety of the community, our volunteers and sponsors and all who have come to enjoy this event, that we reschedule the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival until September due to the COVID-19 virus,” P.J. Skehan, executive director of the chamber, said in a news release.

Colby-Sawyer announces plans for graduation

NEW LONDON — Colby-Sawyer College plans to hold an in-person commencement in May, according to a news release.

No guests will be allowed at the May 8 ceremony aimed at celebrating the school’s 144 graduates this year. The event is slated to take place beneath a tent on the school’s “quad.”

Those who are unable to attend will be able to view the ceremony through a livestream connection. A professional photographer also will be on hand to photograph graduates as they receive their diplomas.

Attendees also will be required to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing cloth face coverings and practicing physical distancing.

The plan will continue to be fluid based on the guidelines given by the state of New Hampshire and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dartmouth College last month announced a similar plan to hold an in-person commencement for graduating seniors.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at or 603-727-3213.

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