BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has been administered to more than 1,200 educators and school staff, largely from the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union (SVSU), at Southwestern Vermont Health Care's (SVHC) COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics the last two Saturdays.
They were the first two of three clinics that will be held to ensure that educators and school staff are vaccinated, according to Vermont's vaccine rollout plan.
"It's really cool to see the joyous environment," Mount Anthony Union High School teacher Meaghan Morgan-Puglisi said. "It sort of feels like a celebration. Going to school has been scary. This is a huge sigh of relief."
She saw several people she knew, including former students, working at the clinic.
Judith Thompson, a learner support person at Molly Stark Elementary, though this year, she has been serving in various roles, including as a substitute.
"There's excitement but a little anxiety," she said before getting her shot. "I feel it's another measure of being protected from the virus. For that, I am overjoyed."
Vaccine information is available on the health system's website, svhealthcare.org. It includes the phased vaccination plan. Those 65 and older and those 16 and older who have high-risk health conditions are also eligible to register and make an appointment on the state's site. Starting Thursday, those 60 and older will be eligible.
Mask wearing, distancing, handwashing, and testing will continue to be important until after 75 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Public health experts project that restrictions could be lifted as early as this summer.
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