Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced on Thursday those who identify as black, indigenous, or a “person of color” can now sign up to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Eligibility for all adults is not expected to open up until later this month.
“If you or anyone in your household identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, all household members who are 16 years or older can sign up to get a vaccine!” the governor announced, providing a link to the state’s website:
If you or anyone in your household identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, all household members who are 16 years or older can sign up to get a vaccine! Get yours at ⤵️ https://t.co/hVgb9rzQPn
— Governor Phil Scott (@GovPhilScott) April 1, 2021
Only certain categories of people are now eligible to sign up to receive the coronavirus vaccine in the Green Mountain State. That includes those 50 and older, people 16 and older who have “high risk” health conditions, parents or primary caregivers of those with “high risk” health conditions, school staff, and child care workers, public safety workers, health care personnel, nursing home residents, “English language learners and people in immigrant/refugee communities,” and now “Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC),” per the state.
It remains unclear how the state is implementing the rule, as anyone could, technically, “identify” as whatever race they choose.
His announcement drew significant backlash on social media.
“I have a dream that our children will one day live in a nation where they will receive medical treatment according to the color of their skin, providing the governor has already had his,” one user said.
Some Twitter users quoted the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Others commented directly on the legality of the Governor’s statement:
This tweet is a felony
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 2, 2021
This is not even close to legal
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 2, 2021
The state is expected to open eligibility to the remainder of the population by April 19.
“Our data also shows us that we have much farther to go with progress through our vaccination efforts,” Vermont’s state health commissioner Mark Levine said this week.
“We get closer to the finish line every day,” he added. “It’s now less than three weeks until all Vermonters are eligible to sign up for their dose of vaccine.”
According to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 213,656 people in Vermont have received at least one dose of the vaccine, as of April 2.