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Vermont vaccine eligibility open to white people over 50 and BIPOC over the age of 16

In Vermont, anyone over the age of 16 who identifies as black, indigenous, or a person of color is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. White people who are over the age of 50 are eligible.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

In Vermont, anyone over the age of 16 who identifies as black, indigenous, or a person of color is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. White people who are over the age of 50 are eligible. Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced this plan on April 1.

Per the Vermont government website, the plan is that anyone of any race who is over 50 can sign up to get the vaccine. Those who are over 16 who have "high-risk health conditions" can get the vaccine. Those who look after children with high-risk health conditions can get vaccinated. And anyone who belongs to specifically non-white racial or ethnic groups can get the vaccine.

Vermont, with a population that is 94 percent white, has created "BIPOC-focused community clinics." These are led by racial justice groups in several towns across the state for those "BIPOC members and their households who would prefer to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic that is dedicated to this community."

In January, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

Fauci said that "You really want to get it to the people who are really the most vulnerable ... you don't want to have a situation where people who really are in need of it, because of where they are, where they live, what their economic status is, that they don’t have access to the vaccine."

At the time, there were 16 states that has released data by race, and this showed that white people were more likely to have been vaccinated. Most of the elderly population in the US is white, and the elderly were the first group to be prioritized for the vaccine, because their age is a high-risk factor.

One study showed that  "for all groups, as compared to the non-Hispanic White population, there were excess COVID-19 deaths across all ages. Although for all racial/ethnic groups, most deaths occurred at older ages, there was also striking loss of life at younger ages, before age 65, among people of color.

"More years of life were lost before 65 years among the non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic populations, despite the smaller size of these groups, than among the non-Hispanic White population. Scrutinizing age-specific mortality rates, we found that for young adults into midlife, comparatively, the non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native populations had a much higher risk of death from COVID-19 than the non-Hispanic White population."

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