Out-of-state students ineligible to receive Vermont Covid-19 vaccines

Gov. Scott’s announcement contradicted information from the college, and comes after many students have already been fully or partially vaccinated in the state

By Abigail Chang and Lucy Townend

Courtesy of ORCA Media
Scott announced students’ ineligibility during a press conference today.

 

Update — Thursday, April 1

The college released vaccination guidance for students in an all-school email sent today:

  • Students with appointments or a first dose should keep their appointment, and all individuals meeting eligibility requirements should book an appointment as soon as possible
  • Black, Indigenous and people of color, as well as those who live with them, are eligible to receive a vaccine. Students should contact Miguel Fernández or Naomi Neff for a special code, employees should contact their healthcare provider.
  • Vermont residents, students living off campus and all students planning to stay in Vermont over the summer should register now, and sign up when they meet eligibility requirements.
  • All students involved with summer programs, language schools, research, or summer employment at Middlebury can sign up using their Vermont address when they are eligible.
  • Out-of-state students within a safe same-day driving distance must receive approval from the Dean of Students office to travel. Those beyond a safe driving distance should sign up for vaccinations where they plan to spend the summer.

Update — Wednesday, March 31

The college has advised students not to cancel existing appointments, shared that they have a plan for facilitating vaccinations on campus should doses become available and noted that students can seek approval to travel to their home state for vaccinations if it is within driving distance.

Gov. Phil Scott doubled down on his rule that out-of-state students (excluding those planning to stay in Vermont during the summer) are ineligible to receive Vermont Covid-19 vaccines in a statement sent to The Campus today. He said the state expects that out-of-state students who do not meet eligibility requirements to be eligible on April 30.

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Out-of-state students who are attending college in Vermont are ineligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Gov. Phil Scott said during a press conference today. Students also cannot use their college addresses to claim Vermont residency, according to Scott’s response to a Vermont Cynic reporter’s question in the same conference.

Scott said that students who are both Vermont residents and college students in the state may be vaccinated, but those who maintain their out-of-state residency cannot be at this time.

“Depending on what we get for a supply when we get to the end, we may be able to fulfil that and offer it to those from out of state,” Gov. Scott said. “But at this point in time, we want to make sure that we take care of Vermonters first — as other states have done as well — and then we’ll move on to the next phase if possible. But that will be after we get to 16 and over Vermont students and the Vermont population.”

This announcement comes as a surprise to many students, as college students are counted in the Vermont census and are able to vote in local elections. And many out-of-state students have already received at least one shot in Vermont, or have successfully registered for vaccine appointments. 

These guidelines also contradict the information Middlebury shared with students last week, which stated that students would be able to use their college address to register for vaccine appointments.

Vermont Commissioner of Health Mark Levine cited the issue of students needing to be in Vermont for both doses — and the fact that April 19 is only the date that eligibility begins for ages 16 and up and not the date that vaccination will occur —  as additional reasons for not extending vaccine eligibility. 

He added that he has been in conversation with colleges to vaccinate students on campus once it is possible. In their March 25 update, college administrators shared that they hoped to offer vaccinations to students and employees through the school but were still in conversation with the state government.

According to the Vermont Health Department website, people who live in another state can receive the vaccine if they are currently eligible through their occupation or setting, or if they “moved to Vermont within the last 6 months with the intention of becoming a resident” and are in a qualifying age group.