It’s official  – “All Vermonter’s 16 and up, will have a chance to register for their Covid vaccine by April 19th,” Governor Phil Scott announced last Friday. For many the Covid vaccine will mean a step towards life seeming a little more normal. It might mean leaving the state without having to self-quarantine after, it might mean seeing family after more than a year of separation and it might just be that boost of confidence some of us need to feel safer in public places. While the vaccine may not be for everyone, it is a chance for you to not only protect yourself, but to do your part in protecting others too. As Scott so often says, “When you can get the vaccine, you should!”

Appointments will open on a staggered basis for people in different age groups over the next five weeks. The VT Department of Health published the following schedule:

Thursday, March 25: 60 and older (TODAY!)

Monday, March 29: 50 and older

Monday, April 5: 40 and older

Monday, April 12: 30 and older

Monday, April 19: 16 and older

Originally the vaccine was only trialed on those 16+ which may have you wondering about your younger friends, family, students and more. In Tuesday’s press conference Gov. Scott also mentioned there is a plan in place for younger people to possibly be vaccinated this year as well, as the studies and trials are showing not only efficacy but also safety for younger people. Stay tuned for more details to follow.

Registering for your vaccine may seem complicated, but it’s not. You have two options. You can register online by going to the Vermont Department of Health Website or you can call 855-722-7878. If you are choosing to register online, you can make that even easier by setting up your online profile today! You will then be able to register once your age group is allowed. Please do not call the number above until your eligibility date, as we want to make sure those who are able to register now can do so. (Calling ahead will not let you register ahead.)

What to expect that day? Getting your Covid vaccine may remind you of your flu shot experience if you’ve ever gone to a “flu vaccine clinic.” You will be asked to adhere to some Covid screening questions and a temperature check, most likely everywhere else these days. You will then be registered and asked to sign a form. After that, it’s time to roll up that sleeve, well, to be honest, it would help everyone out if you wore short sleeves. The vaccine is given in your deltoid, which is that muscle that covers the top of your shoulder, so in an effort for a smooth experience and everyone’s time, go ahead and wear a t-shirt, or layers so that the area can be easily accessed.

Your vaccine technician will wipe the area, give you a poke that lasts just a few seconds and they will apply a bandage over your teeny-tiny little needle hole. After that you will be asked to stay in the observation area just to make sure that you are doing well and feeling well before you go. Depending on the type of vaccine you may also be asked to book your next dose too.

Once you leave your vaccination site, you aren’t immune, and you aren’t exempt from the suggested health guidelines. You should still wear a mask, social distance and consider keeping gatherings to a minimum. They say it can take two weeks and even up to six weeks for immunity after your final dosage. While your body builds its immunity you may feel tired, you may have a fever, body aches or pain at the injection site. These are temporary. Many people set aside the next day to rest and while some need it, others find they feel just fine. Listen to your own body and remember, it’s working! If you need rest, take it! While symptoms may last a day or so, your vaccine’s protection will last hundreds of times longer, so think of this as a temporary discomfort for a more lasting one.

If you are nervous about the vaccine, that’s ok. Many were initially, but so far the vaccine has been very effective and safe for most people. Dr. Mark Levine, Commissioner of the Department of Health, said he hopes that the more information they share and more confidence that is seen in Vermont’s progress will help to reduce concerns. “If many people were hesitant because they had safety concerns or had concerns about it being so new, they’ve all begun to continue to see that (the vaccines are) used successfully and safely and effectively.”

Vaccines may not be 100% effective, but vaccines have truly changed the world. Thanks to many vaccines polio is almost completely irradicated. Many kids no longer get the measles or mumps. Even now we can prove that the more people who get the flu shot each year, the less flu we will get. A vaccine is a chance to protect yourself, and an opportunity to keep your family, friends and community healthier, with a safer place to live. We encourage you to heed the advice of our Governor, “When it’s your turn, get the vaccine…It’s a pathway to more freedom and more mobility,” he said.  Let’s join in this pathway to freedom!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center