News Roundup: Vermont's Vaccination Rate Approaches 78% For Those 12 & Older

May 27, 2021

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Thursday, May 27.

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The latest coronavirus data:

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1. Vt. Dept. of Health reports 22 new COVID-19 cases

Vermont health officials reported 22 new COVID-19 infections across the state Thursday.

No counties report more than 4 cases. Six counties saw no new cases at all.

Ten people are currently hospitalized due to the virus, three of whom are in the ICU.

As of the noon hour, 77.6% of Vermonters 12 or older had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 13,000 Vermonters have to get that first dose for the state to hit its 80% target, at which time Gov. Phil Scott has pledged to remove the state's remaining virus-related restrictions.

- Matthew Smith

Fort Ticonderoga ferry to resume service this weekend

The Fort Ticonderoga ferry will start back up this weekend.

WCAX reports the ferry will resume rides across Lake Champlain between Shoreham, Vermont to Ticonderoga, New York starting Saturday.

The ferry offers rides for pedestrians, as well as cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

The ferry runs from 7 a.m. in the morning to 6 p.m. at night. It'll run through the end of October.

- Matthew Smith

2. Lawmakers hope financial incentives will get more efficient vehicles on Vermont roads

Lawmakers are hoping some new financial incentives will get gas guzzlers off Vermont’s highways.

Ben Walsh, with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, says next year’s budget includes $1.5 million for a program called Replace Your Ride.

“Which is going to be a sort of a scrap-and-replace program,” Walsh said. “If you have an old clunker, you can turn it in, get a $3,000 incentive for among other things purchasing an electric vehicle.”

Lawmakers have also allocated money for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, some of which will be set aside for charging units for multi-family apartment buildings.

Highway traffic accounts for more than 40% of carbon emissions in Vermont.

- Peter Hirschfeld

More from VPR: ''Entire System ... Changing': What The Climate Emergency -- And Solutions -- Look Like In Vermont

3. Health Department says risk of infection for unvaccinated young children lowers as more adults get vaccinated

Gov. Phil Scott says if 80% of eligible Vermonters get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he'll lift all remaining pandemic restrictions. But there's still concern for those who cannot yet get vaccinated, like children under the age of 12.

Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan told Vermont Edition Wednesday that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect those who can't. 

“With our higher vaccination rates and our lower case rates, they're simply not at the same risk that they would've been several months ago,” Dolan said.

Dolan says it's likely Pfizer will have a vaccine approved for children ages 2 to 11 by the fall.

- Emily Aiken

More from Vermont Edition: Vermont Could Soon Lift All Remaining COVID-19 Restrictions. Here’s What You Need To Know

4. New Burlington School District report shows disparities in disciplinary action

A report released Wednesday by the Burlington School District shows Black students, low-income students, and students with disabilities are disciplined at a higher rate.

25% of students suspended in the 2019-2020 school year were African-American – despite making up only 15% of the entire student population. Meanwhile, students who qualify for free and reduced lunch accounted for almost three-quarters of suspensions – despite being only half of the student body.

The report says that overall suspensions declined due to the pandemic – but rates among lower income students increased.

- Mark Davis

More from Vermont Edition: Talking With Kids (And Parents) About Systemic Racism

5. Vermont to receive more than $150,000 in settlement over online e-cigarette sales

Vermont is set to receive more than $150,000 from online electronic cigarette retailers under a settlement announced Wednesday.

Attorney General TJ Donovan says nine online vaping shops have agreed to pay civil penalties after violating state law that makes it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and vaping products to Vermonters via the internet.

It has been illegal to purchase tobacco products online in Vermont since 2008. The law was expanded in 2019 to include e-cigarettes.

- Brittany Patterson

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