The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Vermont

Posted on 04/13/21 by Andy Markowitz

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?

  • Vermonters age 30 and older (16 and older for Black, Indigenous and people of color)
  • People 16 and older who have chronic health conditions that put them at high risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes
  • Parents and primary caregivers of children with high-risk health conditions
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes, assisted living communities and other types of group living facilities for older adults, veterans and people with developmental disabilities
  • School and childcare workers, first responders, 911 operators and corrections officers
  • Health care workers who have direct patient contact, including clinical and support staff, emergency services personnel and home health caregivers
  • Vermont has paused distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of a type of blood clot that has developed in some women after vaccination. The federal government has called the reaction “extremely rare” but “serious.” If you have an appointment for the J&J vaccine, your provider or state or local health department may honor it with a different vaccine or may reach out to reschedule for a different vaccine. You can also contact your provider or health department for more information. 
Virus Outbreak Vermont Vaccine

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • State clinics: Eligible Vermonters can schedule appointments on the state Department of Health’s registration site. Once you set up an account in the registration system, you can use it to find nearby providers and see when they have slots available.
  • Pharmacies: Some Walgreens, Kinney Drugs and CVS locations are administering shots to eligible Vermonters. Follow the links to register for an appointment at a participating store.
  • Vermonters of color can schedule appointments at vaccination clinics focused on their communities in the Burlington, Bennington, Brattleboro and Rutland areas as well as at pharmacies and state-run clinics.
  • Eligible health care and public safety staff can call the Vermont Department of Health at 855-722-7878 to be screened for eligibility and schedule an appointment. They can also make appointments at participating pharmacies.
  • School and child-care workers should receive a passcode from their district or the state Department for Children and Families that they can use to make an appointment with any provider.
  • Homebound Vermonters who are vaccine-eligible can receive shots through a state partnership with local home health and emergency services. Home care agencies will contact eligible clients to arrange vaccination visits. If you are homebound but are not a client of a home health agency, call 802-863-7240 to request a vaccination appointment.
  • Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. Those enrolled in the VA health care system get priority; additional appointments will go to others who are eligible based on their age, health problems and other factors that increase their COVID-19 risk. Sign up with VA to get updates on vaccine availability and to be notified when you can make an appointment.
  • Vaccine supplies remain limited in many areas. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be hard to get, as available time slots may be booked quickly, and you might be put on a waiting list. You can sign up at multiple sites to increase your chances of getting an appointment, but once you have confirmed a slot at one site, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule with any other provider so that those slots stay open for others.

Check the health department’s vaccine page and COVID-19 FAQs for more information. If you don’t have internet access or need help making an online appointment, call the state vaccine call center at 855-722-7878.

AARP recommends that you talk to your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, are at  increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.

If you are eligible because of an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible based on your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.

Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?

Eligibility expands to state residents 16 and older April 19. Students who attend college in Vermont but have out-of-state addresses can begin registering for vaccination appointments April 30.

Check the state health department’s COVID-19 vaccine page for updates on vaccine timelines.

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death.

How are residents at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities being vaccinated?

Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Vermont are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS, Walgreens and Kinney Drugs to administer COVID-19 vaccines at free on-site clinics. Apart from a very small number of outstanding clinics, the program is complete.

To ensure long-term care facilities still have access to COVID-19 vaccines — for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots — the federal government is continuing to allocate vaccines to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities.

Which vaccines require a second shot?

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable.  

At your first vaccination appointment, you should receive a vaccination card with the date of your appointment for a second dose. The state is also encouraging Vermonters to use V-safe, a web tool launched by the CDC that lets people sign up for text message reminders of their second vaccine appointment and report possible side effects.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot, but distribution of that vaccine has been paused.

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older. 

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. Visit the CDC's COVID-19 vaccines page for more information.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination? 

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

What should I do with my vaccine card?

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.

You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes. Experts are still learning about how vaccines affect the spread of COVID-19, so the CDC still recommends taking precautions while in public — including wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Scientists are also studying the effectiveness of the vaccines against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, the CDC says. They can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of them are at a high risk for severe COVID-19.

This guide, published Jan. 5, was updated April 13 with information on Vermont pausing distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Also of Interest:

This story is provided by AARP Vermont. Visit the AARP Vermont page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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