In the News
VAHHS President and CEO Jeff Tieman On
WCAX's "You Can Quote Me"

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - This Sunday on “You Can Quote Me,” Montpelier’s new top cop makes history, becoming the city’s first Black police chief. We’ll talk to Chief 
Brian Peete about that, race relations, and his vision for the capital city. Also, pharmacists are now on the forefront of the COVID fight. They’re vaccinating people in long-term care facilities. We’ll talk to one of those pharmacists, Mike Borque. Plus, an update on how vaccinations are going at hospitals. Jeff Tieman, the president and CEO of the Vermont Association Of Hospitals And Health Systems joins us.
Vermont will prioritize age and health in distributing vaccines in next phases

Vermont will distribute future vaccinations for Covid-19 by age group with special consideration given to people with underlying health conditions, state officials said Tuesday.

The state plans to vaccinate the oldest Vermonters first, then move down the line, Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said at Gov. Phil Scott’s regular twice-weekly press conference. 

The state will not prioritize frontline or essential workers beyond the health care workers getting vaccinated through Phase 1A, the current phase of the plan. 
That contrasts with the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which 

recommended that essential workers such as teachers should be considered part of a priority group. “We will consider what may come from national and state advisory panels,” Smith said.
Hospitals finding ways to choose who gets vaccine
The Rutland Herald

Vermont hospitals are trying to vaccinate staff, especially those who work directly with patients, as quickly as possible. But the process of deciding who gets the vaccine requires complicated planning.

Betsy Hassan, chief nursing officer for Rutland Regional Medical Center, said staff in Rutland are following federal and state guidance in distributing vaccines, including prioritization for staff in areas such as the emergency department and COVID units.

The vaccines, which are given twice for maximum effectiveness, are not mandatory at RRMC, Hassan said.

“We let people know that they were eligible and people said that, ‘yes, they would like to receive the vaccine,’” she said.

Because a small number of vaccine recipients have had side effects, administrators at RRMC have tried to separate vaccine doses around key departments.
Backstory: Strongest Reaction to a Shot in the Arm
Seven Days

Reporters weren't allowed into the University of Vermont Medical Center to watch Vermont's first COVID-19 vaccination, but the hospital livestreamed the event. So I stood at my kitchen counter, headphones on, taking notes as health officials discussed its momentous nature.

The camera panned to emergency department nurse Cindy Wamsganz, who was seated in front of a plastic banner bearing the hospital's name. She rolled up her sleeve. A nurse swabbed a spot on her upper arm, then plunged in a needle.

Suddenly I was sobbing.

Nine months had passed since I'd returned from a data journalism conference in New Orleans with a long list of planned projects, only to learn that another attendee had tested positive for COVID-19 — unusual news back in early March. I told my coworkers that I'd be self-quarantining at home for the following two weeks. Just a few cases had been identified in Vermont at that point, and it wasn't clear what the public health recommendations were, so I wrote about the experience for Seven Days. I didn't know then that I wouldn't return to the office again in 2020.
White River Junction VA begins COVID-19 vaccination for veterans
Vermont Business Magazine

White River Junction VA Healthcare System began COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine December 21, 2020, following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine. 

As the roll out of the vaccine at White River Junction VA continues, the teams deploying it are reviewing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on risk stratification.

Since Dec. 21, the facility has made tremendous progress in administering vaccines to healthcare personnel as part of the initial phase of COVID-19 vaccine delivery. 
Today marks White River Junction VA’s transition to the next phase, beginning to offer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to veterans who are at the greatest risk for infection and severe illness based on the CDC’s guidelines.

As more vaccine supplies become available, we will initiate contact to eligible Veterans for scheduling. There is no need to preregister or come to a facility to sign up.

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