On Monday, the state lifted all remaining COVID-19 restrictions as it became the first in the nation to at least partially vaccinate 80% of its eligible population, age 12 and over.
“Today, June 14, 2021, because of the hard work of so many Vermonters and their commitment to each other, 80 percent of eligible Vermonters have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Gov. Phil Scott (R) said in a signed directive Monday.
A 15-month state of emergency that took effect after Vermont’s first confirmed coronavirus case in March 2020 will formally expire at midnight on June 15.
“Our state has shown the world what’s possible when you have a group of people with the right attitude following the data and trusting medical science,” Scott added in a press conference heralding the news.
While state restrictions in Vermont concerning mask-wearing, physical distancing and limits on crowd sizes have all been rescinded, individual businesses and municipalities can still implement their own rules.
The state’s lifting of restrictions also doesn’t supersede federal restrictions that are still in place, like requirements for masks on planes and public transit, among other things.
It’s difficult to predict the vaccination percentage it will take for the entire country to reach herd immunity ― when enough individuals are immune to the virus so that it can no longer spread. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic, has previously predicted we’d need at least 75% of Americans to be vaccinated.
A vaccination tracking database maintained by the New York Times shows Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut and Maine all closely trailing Vermont in terms of total population vaccinated.
Ultimate inoculation bragging rights belong to the tiny South Pacific nation of Palau, which has access to U.S.-provided vaccines under a longstanding free-association agreement. As of June 1, 96% of the island’s total adult population was fully vaccinated.
Bringing up the rear for U.S. states are Mississippi, where the Times database shows 35% of the eligible population has received at least one shot, Alabama (37%) and Louisiana (also 37%).