Vaccination rollout

In this Feb. 3 file photo, Jessica Woodward checks in those 75 years old and older during a vaccination clinic in the former Southern Vermont College gymnasium in Bennington.

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As a healthcare provider, I know the quickest way out of the COVID pandemic is to get everyone a vaccine as soon as possible. The Vermont Department of Health, together with the federal government, is expanding access to vaccines at every opportunity and working, locally and statewide, to ensure that everyone who is eligible has access to the vaccine. Apart from the limited number of vaccines available, here are five main barriers to access and how the health community is working to address these challenges.

FINDING A CLINIC CLOSE TO WHERE YOU LIVE

The Vermont Department of Health is working to open more clinics in more locations. In addition to SVMC’s clinic at the former Southern Vermont College campus, the state has planned clinics at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester and is working to expand access to federally qualified health centers and pharmacies. All vaccine appointments and clinic locations are accessible by visiting https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine.

SCHEDULING A VACCINATION WITHOUT THE INTERNET

If you do not have access to an internet connection or you do not have an e-mail address, call 855-722-7878 to schedule your vaccine appointment.

FOR THOSE WHO SPEAK LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH

Translators are available at 855-722-7878 to help non-English speakers to make an appointment.

TRANSPORTATION HELP FOR VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS

No one should forgo or delay registering to get vaccinated because they worry how they will get to the vaccination clinic or home again. Those who need a ride to their vaccination appointment can call 802-447-0477 or toll free 877-530-6116 right after you have obtained a scheduled vaccination appointment. The service will pick you up at home and bring you back home again.

VACCINATION FOR HOMEBOUND VERMONTERS

People who use a home health agency and who are over 75 years old are the first group to receive vaccines at home. Doses have begun to be distributed to several Vermont counties already; distribution is expected to expand next week.

Once the roughly 2,000 Vermonters connected with home health services have been reached, the service will be expanded to include others in need. Numerous partners, including primary care providers, Agencies on Aging, and municipalities are currently discussing how best to identify the additional individuals and to create the second phase of outreach. Note that agencies are not collecting names or keeping lists of homebound residents at this time.

Thanks for your patience as we work to get everyone who is eligible for a vaccine vaccinated.

Caitlin Tilley, RN, is the director of Transitions of Care at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. She works as a part of a team to provide quality patient care, improve the community’s health, and reduce the overall cost of care.


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