Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country. So why are cases surging?

ABC News

The delta variant is partly to blame.

Vermont is one of the most vaccinated states in the country and has served as a model for its COVID-19 response throughout the pandemic. But now, the state is experiencing its worst COVID-19 surge yet, with several factors — including its own success — to blame, officials said. In Vermont, nearly 72% of residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — more than any other state, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. At the same time, it has the 12th-highest rate of new COVID-19 cases over the last week, state data released Tuesday shows. Vermont has seen a “significant” increase in COVID-19 cases in the past week, Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the state’s Department of Financial Regulation, said during a press briefing Tuesday. The seven-day average for COVID-19 cases rose 42% as of Tuesday, according to state data. Vermont does more testing than nearly any other state, though testing only increased 9% during the same period. The statewide positivity rate also increased 30%, with the seven-day average positivity rate just under 4%. The number of new cases increased by nearly 700 in the past week, state officials said Tuesday. “We just haven’t [previously] seen an increase in terms of that raw number of cases during the pandemic,” said Pieciak, noting there were just over 2,100 cases reported for the week in Vermont, one of the least-populated states in the country. Case rates in Vermont residents who are not fully vaccinated are nearly four times higher than in fully vaccinated residents, according to state data. Essex County, the least-vaccinated county in the state, is reporting the highest case rates of any county in Vermont, with 1,022 cases per 100,000 people reported from Nov. 2 to 8. In Grand Isle County, which has the highest vaccination rate in the state, that number was 160. Statewide, those driving the surge include people in their 20s, who are the least vaccinated among Vermont adults, as well as children ages 5 to 11, who are just now eligible to get vaccinated, Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s health commissioner, said Tuesday. There’s no “one simple answer” behind the surge, according to Levine. Though one major factor is the delta variant, experts said.

Read more at ABC News

Join now!