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Vermont to open COVID vaccines to out-of-state students

Associated Press
Published: 4/1/2021 10:24:01 PM
Modified: 4/1/2021 10:23:57 PM

The state of Vermont is expecting to expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to out-of-state college students and second homeowners on April 30 if there is an adequate supply of vaccines.

Gov. Phil Scott announced the policy change Wednesday after he initially said vaccines in the state would be reserved for residents.

For the purposes of vaccination, Vermont defines residents as people who have lived in the state for six months, including college students who plan to spend the summer

On April 19, Vermont will expand vaccinations to every resident age 16 and over.

There are thousands of out-of-state college students living in Vermont who have not been vaccinated.

Of the nearly 10,200 undergraduate students at the University of Vermont in Burlington, more than 72% are from out of state. Exams run through May 18.

The university’s weekly COVID-19 testing report, dated Sunday, said 55 off-campus and 25 on-campus students had tested positive for the virus.

At Middlebury College, where school will run until May 28, students were told the college had developed a plan to vaccinate students on campus should vaccines become available in late April or May.

“We are prepared to distribute vaccines to students as soon as they become available,” said a Thursday letter to the campus community by college physician Dr. Mark Peluso.

Almost 96% of Middlebury’s 1,950 students are from outside Vermont. As of Thursday, the college said it had no active cases of COVID-19 among its students.

The letter said students who are eligible to be vaccinated in a home state within one day’s driving distance of Middlebury must get permission from the dean of students before traveling out of Vermont.

When asked Tuesday by a journalist from the Vermont Cynic, the student newspaper at the University of Vermont, about vaccinations for students, Scott said it was Vermonters first.

In clarifying his statement issued late Wednesday, Scott said discussions have been ongoing about when to make nonresident students eligible to be vaccinated.

“Based on the current vaccine supply forecasts, and as long as doses continue to be allocated at the current level, the state expects to expand registration for COVID-19 vaccines to any college students who do not meet the residency definition above, as well as second homeowners returning to Vermont for the summer months, on April 30,” the statement said.

NH town, city officials advocate for their out-of-state college students

The mayors and administrators of eight college towns have asked the state to develop a plan to give vaccines to students who are from out of state, but Gov. Chris Sununu said the timing and vaccine supply are currently obstacles.

“The logistics of students leaving the state for vaccinations and returning to our communities creates the potential for increased spread of the virus among our citizens,” the letter dated Thursday said. It was addressed to Sununu and signed by leaders in Hanover, New London, Manchester, Nashua, Keene, Plymouth, Henniker and Durham.

Sununu said New Hampshire residents “have to come first,” and that the out-of-state students are “not included in the mathematics that the federal government uses to provide us with the vaccine.” He wouldn’t rule it out for a later time.

Sununu said that even if the students got into the vaccine registration system as of tomorrow, they would probably get their second shot in May or as they were leaving. He also said that the students are one of the lowest-risk populations.




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