How A Small & Widely Rural State Of Vermont Vaccinated

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 17, 2021

A 70-year-old man in Vermont’s tiny Readsboro didn’t want to go through the trouble of getting a vaccine for coronavirus because his hometown is full of less than 700 citizens, and he lives only 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital.

He told his wife that the only way he would get the COVID-19 vaccine is if someone brought it to him.

How A Small & Widely Rural State Of Vermont Vaccinated

Based in Brattleboro, Drew Hazelton was searching for a place to park Rescue Inc, his 28-foot-long trailer. He used it to bring COVID-19 vaccines to remote and doodle parts. In the small region, there was no parking space for such a huge vehicle. So, he parked right in front of the street, where that old man lived.

How A Small & Widely Rural State Of Vermont Vaccinated

Hazelton recalls him saying that he didn’t have any choice. Hazelton is chief of emergency medical service operations. Most of the vulnerable and older people of the state do not have access to the vaccines or internet. So, they meet people where they are.

The USA Facts reports that Vermont has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccination in the US. During early November, more than 80% of residents of Vermont had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine news.

The success of Vermont in its vaccine rollout is due to a number of strategies and factors. Experts say that some of the strategies are specially designed and suited for small states like Vermont.

Data sources have been centralized by state officials. They have been tracking vaccinations and providing continuous guidance for their residents. In this process, trusted messengers like local pharmacies are used to appeal to the residents.

And they don’t persuade people to travel great distances to get their vaccines. They bring COVID-19 vaccines to the people.

The Vermont Agency of Human Services’ deputy secretary, Jenney Samuelson said that along with mass vaccinations, Vermont also showed up at events like local car races, general stores, and gas stations. Samuelson added that she cannot recall how many times she heard people say that they wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated if they did not bring it to them.

The state starts out with some cultural and demographic advantages. According to the census, more than 20% of residents of Vermont are more than 65 years old. Senior citizens have a higher rate of vaccination. Nationally, around 94% of people between the age of 65-74 who got vaccinated against the coronavirus, 90% of those inoculated are 75 years and above.

While being famously independent, Vermont has a strong sense of community. University of Vermont’s public health and health policy dean and medicine professor, Dr. Jan Carney said that here, there is a collaborative spirit.

But it still posed a great challenge for medical providers and health experts to vaccinate people. Vermont is small and mostly rural. More than 60% of its residents live in rural regions.

Officials did not stay dependent on the internet to spread the message across. Because it would exclude people who do not have access to the Internet and phones. They used local newspapers, old-school posters, and school newsletters.

They also went to people’s homes, especially those who were not in the condition to travel. The Waterbury Ambulance Service’s executive director Mark Podgwaite said that people get emotional when they see someone personally delivering vaccines to them. They cannot believe that volunteers are coming to their homes.

In one case of love received from the people of Vermont, a woman asked the volunteers if there was something for her to prepare. They joked that she could prepare coffee and cake. To their surprise, when they visited her home the food items were already waiting.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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