The state of Vermont has opened up COVID-19 vaccine availability to all adults, unless those adults identify as white.
Republican Gov. Phil Scott tweeted Thursday that anyone above age 16 who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color can now sign up to receive a coronavirus vaccine. White Vermonters over age 16 are also eligible—so long as they share a household with a person of color.
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
Vermont’s Department of Health website lists the current eligible recipients of a vaccine as people over age 50, all adults with high-risk health conditions, parents and primary caregivers of high-risk children, immigrants and refugees, long-term care facility residents, healthcare workers, school and childcare workers, public safety employees, and now Black, Indigenous and people of color.
Based on that list, it would appear Vermont is racially discriminating against healthy adults below age fifty who do not work in certain fields. (RELATED: Jen Psaki Responds To Suggestion That Prioritizing Teacher Vaccinations Is ‘Anti-Equity Since Most Teachers Are White’)
The announcement sparked intense uproar and questions about the legality of such a distinction. As of now, officials in Vermont have not changed the policy or given any indication they will do so.
The Republican Governor of Vermont has decided to make vaccines available to non-white residents who are 16 or older two full weeks before whites are scheduled to have the same access. Seems like an ethically questionable way to address the racial disparity in vaccinations https://t.co/iAfNC7tb3R
— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) April 2, 2021
Complaints about vaccine ‘equity’ have been voiced since the beginning of vaccine distribution in the U.S. Health outcomes for non-white Americans have generally been worse when dealing with COVID-19, and some communities of color have struggled to have the same access to vaccines as white communities.