Phil Scott (copy)

Gov. Phil Scott speaks during a January press conference updating the public on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MONTPELIER — The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will be sending vaccines to Vermont starting Friday.

During his twice-weekly press conference on the state’s response to COVID-19 Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott and other state officials announced that the program will dole out 1,000 to 2,000 doses a week by the end of this week, but the distribution hasn’t been without hiccups.

A breach of the system for healthcare workers has led to vaccinations for people who weren’t qualified.

Scott says the state is moving quickly to protect workers’ identities and fix the problem.

“Fortunately before this happened we purchased cyber insurance to protect members affected by incidents,” Scott said.

No criminal charges are expected.

Here are a few takeaways from the press conference:

Reports of ineligible people receiving vaccines

The Vermont Agency of Human Services says they have received reports of unqualified people receiving vaccines.

The agency says that they have caught attempts to go around state guidance and intervened.

Agency chief Mike Smith says the state sent out three healthcare alert notifications to providers talking about who is eligible in phase 1a — meant for healthcare workers — but that workers managed to circumvent the guidance and jump the line.

“However despite these unfortunate instances, I still have a high confidence level that most healthcare providers and workers complied with the guidance and got their vaccines,” said Smith. “I gotta recognize that some people have gotten vaccines that should have and that individuals really look deep in their heart and say, ’Is this something I’m qualified for or not,’ as they look for vaccines.”

Vermont to roll out 1,000 to 2,000 vaccines per week

Walgreens pharmacies across the state will begin distributing the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program by the end of this week.

Seniors age 75 and older can sign up to be vaccinated using the Vermont Department of Health website or go directly onto the Walgreens website.

“Individuals in group 1a will continue to be eligible to receive vaccines. Hospitals will receive ongoing allocations of vaccines for the purpose of vaccinating this group,” Smith said.

Twenty Walgreens pharmacies across the state will administer doses — four of them in the southern part of Vermont.

Smith says that 65,000 eligible Vermonters have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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