Vermont Is Prioritizing ‘BIPOC’ Households for Vaccines. That’s Almost Certainly Unconstitutional.
Vermont is prioritizing people of color for vaccine eligibility over the state’s white residents, provoking no small amount of controversy and constitutional concerns.
On Thursday, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced on Twitter that anyone aged 16 or older who identities as black, indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), or lives in a household with someone who does, can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
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
That would seem to disadvantage the state residents who are white and don’t live with anyone identifying as BIPOC. The state currently restricts vaccine eligibility for those people to those 50 years and older, unless they qualify for a vaccine by virtue of being a health care worker, employed in public safety, having a high-risk health condition, or being a parent or caregiver of someone with a high-risk health condition.
Mark Levine, the state’s health commissioner, told VTDigger that people of color are being prioritized for the vaccine because of their higher rates of COVID-19 and lower rates of vaccination.
All Vermonters 16 or older, white or not, should be able to register for a vaccine appointment by April 19, said Levine.
Some 34 percent of Vermont’s population has received at least one va
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