COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Vermont are reserved for in-state college students only, Governor Phil Scott announced in a press conference this week. Students from other states attending university in Vermont are ineligible for a jab.
Vaccination is reserved for residents who have lived in the state for six months, including out-of-state college students who plan to remain in the state for summer.
“College students who are residents of another state, and who do not intend to stay in Vermont for the summer, do not meet the current residency requirement at this time,” the governor’s office said in a statement, adding, it would be prioritizing “Vermonters ahead of out-of-state residents and part-time second homeowners.”
The decision to put Vermont residents ahead of out-of-state students jeopardizes almost three-quarters of undergraduates enrolled in the University of Vermont (UVM). Only 27 percent of UVM undergraduates are Vermont residents, while 43 percent of graduates live in the state, the university’s website says.
Based on the current allocation of doses, the state expects out-of-state college students and second homeowners to be eligible to sign up for the vaccine by April 30.
Reaction to the Announcement
Governor Scott has faced severe backlash over excluding out-of-state students with some calling his decision “disconcerting and disappointing.”
Students and professors have also criticized the move on social media. Some are even asking the governor to change his vaccination plan.
@GovPhilScott I work and pay taxes in Vermont, will be living in Vermont and not leaving for all but two weeks until next May, and was counted as a Vermonter in the census and thus counted towards vaccine allocation, but cannot get vaccinated as an “out-of-state” college student?
— Isabel Linhares (@IzzyLinhares) March 31, 2021
“As if an undergraduate can just hop a flight to their home state to get vaxxed and make it back for midterms” Middlebury College professor Eilat Glikman wrote on Twitter. “They are here, trapped with no access to basic healthcare that protects us all.”
“There is no public health rationale for this decision,” public health instructor at St. Michael’s College Liz Winterbauer told VTDigger.
An editorial in The Middlebury Campus said the new rule denies out-of-state students “important access to the most effective protection against COVID.”
“We stand in staunch opposition to this short-sighted, illogical, and dangerous restriction,” the student-run newspaper said.