For Immediate Release: November 4, 2021

Media Contact:
Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health

802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281
[email protected]  

Statement on Technical Error That Prevented Certain Vaccine Registrations

BURLINGTON, VT – The Health Department learned late Wednesday that a technical glitch in the vaccine registration system prevented parents from adding a new dependent who identifies as BIPOC. This glitch made it so they were unable to register the child they were adding for a vaccine.

This problem was fixed Wednesday evening.

Although this was an unintentional error, it resulted in an unacceptable and incredibly disappointing outcome, and for that we sincerely apologize. We are actively working to learn more about how many people this impacted and doing all we can to ensure those individuals are prioritized to get their children registered and vaccinated in a timely manner. This created a situation of racially disparate systemic inequity – that is the case even when unintentional. We acknowledge the real impact this has on the health and well-being of Vermonters of color, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other health conditions, and who have experienced historic injustices.

Our plan to prioritize youth of color for 5-11 vaccine includes finding partners to conduct culturally and linguistically responsive education and outreach with the communities they serve, as well as setting up BIPOC youth-focused clinics where needed. We also used data to prioritize placing school-based clinics in school districts with higher populations of students of color.

Our top priority is ensuring we accommodate those who were impacted as quickly as possible. We are working on ways to set up additional appointments and move appointments to an earlier date since the technical glitch may have resulted in pushing these individuals into later-date appointments.

Any parents or caregivers who were affected by the inability to schedule their child yesterday or were helped by the call center to schedule a later appointment because of this issue are encouraged to call the Vaccine Registration Call Center at 855-722-7878. The call center is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Call center staff can take contact information for a follow-up consultation about possible alternatives.

Translations of this statement will be made available as quickly as possible. Our Health Equity Team is meeting with Multilingual Task Force leadership to prioritize messaging to English Language Learning families via audio recordings. This information will also be communicated to multi-lingual liaisons at schools and through our community partner network.

This is all the information we have at this time, but we will continue to provide updates as they become available.

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