To the editor: Last week, on Dec. 31, Vermont reported about 11,000 COVID immunizations were administered, roughly 1/3 of what they had on hand.
A week later on Jan. 7, roughly 9,000 more were added bringing the total number of people who had completed their course of immunizations to about 1,400. Truly dismal numbers!
Prior to my letter, Vermont had reported both vaccinations and doses on hand, this week that inventory under refrigeration number was omitted. Why? Without both numbers, we can’t evaluate how efficiently their distribution system has been running and there is absolutely no accountability. Governor Scott has been “in meetings,” and to my knowledge, has not addressed Vermonters on this terrible situation since last Tuesday of last week.
Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said at Friday’s press conference that 21,000 Vermonters have now been vaccinated, adding that Vermont ranks second in the nation in the rate of doses distributed per 100,000 people and fourth in doses given.
The CDC’s latest numbers from last Tuesday reported Vermont as fourth, not second. As to doses administered, we actually rank seventh, not fourth. Although this may seem to be nitpicking, the state seems to lack a realistic handle on how well, or poorly, we are doing, or in the worst case is being disingenuous.
This morning I was told forcefully during a phone call with the Governor’s office that the lack of protection Vermonters are getting is due to poor performance by the feds, and that Dr. Levine’s department is doing the best they can. There can be no question, Operation Warp Speed is certainly doing a terrible job, but that does not excuse our state’s poor performance.
According to those same CDC numbers, more than half of Vermont’s available doses remain under refrigeration, not in arms. I have to ask, how would the Department of Health handle distribution if the full allotment had been received? I was promised a call back with clarification of my concerns. As of the close of business today, there has been no reply.
When our next-door neighbor, New York, started immunizing their elderly and at-risk citizens in group 1b today, as Florida has been for at least a week (although chaotically), it is clear that vaccine is available to states that are willing to fight to provide it to their people. What does that say about Vermont’s leaders and what they think about their constituents?
In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, there is no try, there is only do!
With kind regards,