Boosters Available
By Devon Green
VAHHS Vice President of Government Relations

With boosters now widely available in Vermont, we hope eligible Vermonters take advantage of this great opportunity to further protect themselves, their families and their communities. Signing up is easy and the Vermont Department of Health has done an incredible job to ensure access to Pfizer boosters for all Vermonters.

Here is what you need to know:


The following Vermonters who received their second Pfizer shot at least six months ago are eligible for a booster:

  • those are age 65 or older

  • those age 18 or older with certain medical conditions that put them at high risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19

  • those age 18 or older who are more likely to be exposed to or spread COVID because of where they work, including all health care workers

  • those age 18 or older who are Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) or are age 18 or older and live with someone who is BIPOC

For more information on these categories, go to the Vermont Department of Health website.
How to Sign Up

If you signed up through the state website:
  • you can sign up again through the website; or
  • go to a pharmacy.

If you did not sign up through the state’s website for your initial doses, you can:
  • call 855-722-7878; or
  • go to a pharmacy.

Health care workers who were vaccinated prior to the state’s website will have to call 855-722-7878 to sign up or go to a pharmacy, unless their employers tells them otherwise.

Flu Shots and Boosters

Some people have reported hearing they need to get their COVID booster shot and flu shot separately. You can receive your COVID booster shot and other vaccinations, such as flu or shingles, at the same time as your COVID booster shot as long as they are one inch apart. You will likely want to get each shot in a different arm!
In the News
New England Has Highest Vaccination Rates in U.S., Yet States Seeing COVID Cases Surge

Despite being the state with the highest vaccination rates, New England is seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases, the Associated Press reported.

According to statistics from AP, although "full vaccination rates across the six New England states range from a high of 69.4 percent in Vermont to 61.5 percent in New Hampshire"—higher than the U.S. average, 55.5 percent—parts of New England "are seeing record case counts, hospitalizations and deaths that rival pre-vaccine peaks."

"I think it's clearly frustrating for all of us," said Michael Pieciak, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation's commissioner monitoring their COVID-19 statistics.
Bennington ER nurse reflects on burnout, vaccine hesitancy among health care workers

Health care workers in Vermont have faced even more stresses with the surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19 since this summer. Jodie Waldron, a nurse in the emergency department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, is among them.

She says it's been distressing to see younger COVID-19 patients in the hospital, and it's contributing to the burnout many health care workers are feeling.
UVM Medical Center imaging technologists negotiate new contract

After months of bargaining, the UVM Medical Center has reached an agreement to give imaging technologists better benefits.

Since March, the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Union has represented the hundreds of radiologists, MRI technologists and sonographers, employed by the hospital.

The new contract significantly increases their wages. It also addresses recruiting and retention problems that lead to short staffing.

Co-lead negotiator, Michael Bernier says the move is life-changing for many of the workers.

“It’s definitely the first step of many in making positive changes that enhance not just our workplace and our ability to live in the beautiful state of Vermont but also incorporate our voice into future decisions,” Bernier said.
CVMC responds to labor shortage
The Times Argus

Central Vermont Medical Center isn’t immune to what has become a national problem and the region’s largest employer has taken steps to address what officials characterized as “a pandemic-driven labor shortage.”

It is one CVMC President and Chief Operating Officer Anna Tempesta Noon said has created a strain on health systems dealing with an elevated number of COVID-19 cases at a time when higher acuity is driving demand for care.

“In health care, people are at the heart of everything we do,” Noonan said. “Adequate staffing is essential to provide the best possible care and service.
Not a miracle drug' -- Grace Cottage, SVMC offer antibody
Bennington Banner

Grace Cottage Hospital is treating certain patients with monoclonal antibodies to combat COVID-19.

“It’s very safe to give and better than nothing,” said George Terwilliger, chief medical officer. “We thought we would offer it. We have been nimble enough to offer it and we have a negative pressure room we’ve been using.”

“Negative pressure” means air pressure is lower in the room, with the intent of promoting air flow inside and keeping viruses from escaping.

Vermont psychiatric hospital requiring vaccines after cases

The Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital is telling its employees they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or they will lose their jobs.

The organization wide mandate that was issued Wednesday comes after an unvaccinated staff member caused an outbreak at the hospital by infecting other staff and patients, said Retreat President and CEO Louis Josephson.

“So clearly, avoiding mandated vaccinations has not prevented service impacts to our operation,” Josephson said. “If anything, unvaccinated staff are a significant reason for disruption, illness, exceptional cost and effort related to the outbreak.”

Josephson told the Brattleboro Reformer three patients in the Retreat’s adolescent unit have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 100 Retreat staffers have tests that are pending.
Few leave Brattleboro hospital over vaccine mandate
Sentinel Source

Amid ongoing staffing shortages at health care facilities nationwide, announcements of COVID-19 vaccination mandates have spurred warnings of mass staff exoduses.

But so far at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, this has translated to just 2.5 of about 540 full-time-equivalent employees.

The hospital is one of several local health care organizations with employee-vaccination deadlines that came up within the past two weeks.
Hospitals in the News
Mark Your Calendar