Vermont is one of my favorite places. It’s where I first escaped after COVID came to town nearly two years ago.
The scenery is beautiful. Local, organic foods are readily available. People stay active in many ways. And they often work together toward a common goal.
In fact, Vermont happens to be America’s most vaccinated state against COVID. Nearly 80 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated—including 95 percent of residents ages 65 and older (the most vulnerable age group).
So, how are the folks of Vermont faring in the fight against COVID?
Well, like in most parts of the world, the omicron variant hit at a frightening rate.
BUT—there’s a lot we can learn from Vermont’s collective measures against COVID…
High vaccination rates; Low severe illness
In mid-January, hospitalization rates hit record highs in Vermont. But these rates still ranked last in the nation—and overall death rates were comparatively low. (This illustrates how effective vaccination is against disease severity.)
Plus, even vaccination efforts among children proved effective against severe disease. This drastically eased the strain on healthcare workers—which, unfortunately, just isn’t the case for most of the nation.
In fact, Dr. Rebecca Bell, a pediatric critical care specialist at the University of Vermont Health Network in Burlington, the only pediatric intensive care hospital in the state, noted: “I have not admitted a vaccinated child to the hospital with COVID.”
In other words, Vermont’s collective measures to achieve high vaccination rates across all ages AND its continued adherence to safety measures —especially when the virus is swarming—have proven effective against severe COVID-19 infection.
As a result, the people of Vermont can already discuss how to move to a world beyond COVID. For example, they’re looking at ways to move past contract tracing and isolation periods, and toward things like smarter testing and self-guided recuperation periods.
This is something the rest of the world MUST learn from… quickly.
Vow to protect others
At the end of the day, a highly vaccinated state like Vermont could soon drop nearly all mitigation efforts against COVID and still function quite well.
Man, doesn’t that sound nice!? Imagine a world where thousands of Americans weren’t dying every day. (The U.S. has now surpassed any other country in the number of deaths per capita… an appalling statistic, no matter what side of the aisle you reside.)
Of course, Vermont has a small-town feel. So, “it’s easy to imagine how your behavior impacts your neighbor and an expectation that we take care of each other”, as stated by Dr. Tim Lahey, director of clinical ethics at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.
But no matter where you live, the message is clear: We have to vow to protect ourselves and each other every single day. And yes, that includes healthcare workers.
(The amount of selfish behavior I have witnessed in the past two years has almost made me consider quitting what I love. And I know I’m not the only frontline worker feeling this sense of frustration and fatigue.)
So, especially if you haven’t agreed with my stance against COVID, I hope the lessons we’re learning from a state with nearly universal vaccination rates can paint a clear picture. Vaccination IS effective. And so are other preventative, precautionary measures.
My wish is for everyone to start making responsible choices accordingly so we can ALL move to a world beyond COVID.
In addition, I encourage you to continue boosting your immune system by following the steps outline in my Complete Guide to Year-Round Immunity. Click here to learn more!
“In Super-Vaxxed Vermont, COVID Strikes — But Packs Far Less Punch.” Medscape, 01/28/2022. (medscape.com/viewarticle/967461)