The organization, distribution and overall logistics of the COVID-19 vaccine is a complicated nightmare. Fortunately, every state has a plan. A state’s plan involves a surprising choice of who gets it first.
Each state in the United States has its own plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. At the top of the list are obvious professionals such as healthcare workers and emergency responders. But in Vermont, that first wave of vaccines will go to skiers as well.
Last week Vermont changed its policy on priority for vaccine distribution. The state is currently distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to “Healthcare workers likely to be exposed / treating Covid-19 patients” its guidelines.
What’s the change? Today, skiers are among the workers in the healthcare sector. The decision sparked controversy, but Vermont health officials argue the move makes sense.
“They are still in the first responder category who are in direct contact with someone who is often in a vulnerable situation because of the nature of their job for a long time,” said Mark Levine of the Vermont Department of Health Vermont Ski and Ride.
And skiers at resorts like Mount Snow, Killington, Stratton and others have already been vaccinated. Unofficial networks reported.
We looked at distribution time in several other states to see if this protocol is nationwide.
Vaccine for Ski Patroller
While Vermont is the only state that specifically includes skiers in its first-wave eligibility, a handful of guidelines from other states allow for interpretation.
Colorado’s first phase of Vaccine distribution will go to those who work directly with COVID-19 patients as well as to “healthcare workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients and EMS workers”. Firefighters, police and rescue workers also receive vaccines in the first wave.
And after the Steamboat pilot, the next wave “will likely include Steamboat Ski Patrol as well.”
Various news sources have also reported that patrols and rescue workers in ski towns like Vail, Loveland and Jackson Hole could receive the vaccine as part of the starting doses.
Similar guidelines for first aiders apply in California, Utah, New York, and Massachusetts. In many of these countries, stricter guidelines apply to the admission requirements.
Current EMT paramedic certifications or employer-issued IDs from an authorized first responder or emergency organization are all that is required to qualify for the vaccine.
In many cases, skiers work as first responders, often in rural areas. And sometimes even in the hospital.
The National Ski Patrol published this statement in December 2020:
“We know that most, if not all, of these plans will use the prioritization proposed by the CDC and make the vaccine available to frontline health workers. The second and third distribution levels [include] other emergency responders, police, fire brigade, ambulance, search and rescue and others who would respond to incidents in the community with COVID-19 patients. “
It really depends on when vaccine doses are available in a geographic area.
In the meantime, resort visitors should remember to follow the guidelines provided, wear a mask – and perhaps thank the local ski staff. Because when there is an emergency they are out there to help, vaccinated or not.
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