Vermont has defended its decision to include ski patrollers in the first phase of its covid-19 vaccine rollout program, claiming that they count as health care workers, reports the VT Digger.
Residents were outraged when it was revealed that ski patrollers were some of the first to be vaccinated, and it has sparked debate about who should and shouldn’t be first in line.
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Some residents think the state is putting the economic benefit of keeping ski resorts open ahead of public safety. Other frontline workers, such as police or teachers, should have been vaccinated ahead of patrollers. Vermont began its vaccination program on December 15th.
“The state’s largest union is seeking clarity about the state’s vaccination priorities now that members of ski patrols are being vaccinated ahead of in-school educators and other front-line workers.”
– The Vermont-National Education Association
According to its own guidelines, the state responded by saying that they are distributing the vaccine to “health care workers likely to be exposed/treat Covid-19 patients”, and that that includes ski patrollers. A recent policy change added police and firefighters to that high-priority list.
There have been no outbreaks originating from Vermont’s ski areas, but covid-19 cases in ski towns are on the rise. Out of state travelers not adhering to the rules are being blamed.