NEWS & ANALYSIS

SELECTIVE BIGOTRY: Vaccine Priority in Vermont for People of Color, Indigenous, Refugees 


In the latest example of selective bigotry, the state of Vermont is race-basing its COVID-19 vaccination policy to prioritize those who are black, indigenous, people of color, English language learners and members of immigrant or refugee communities. 

This month, the Vermont Department of Health announced it was prioritizing the aforementioned minority communities to receive shots. 

Vermont republican governor Phil Scott defended his decision, urging that the “Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) population is at increased risk of hospitalizations from COVID-19.” 

This particular population, he added, already faces health disadvantages from “historical inequities and injustices.” The vaccination rate among the community is only 20.2 percent. 

“These disparities are unacceptable to me,” Scott said. “Unfortunately, the legacy of racism in America, and in Vermont, still drives a lot of anger and fear.” 

Following the announcement, Judicial Watch requested more information from the state involving the race-based program. The request asked for records regarding how a person’s status as a member of one or more of the communities will be assessed and verified.

Additionally, they requested information on reasons for including these communities versus other races, ethnicities and groups in vaccine eligibility.

Finally, the request asks for whether making the vaccine eligible to minority communities is consistent with state and federal law. 

Judicial Watch recently launched a similar investigation in Maryland, after the state’s two biggest counties launched a “special clinic” to vaccinate 600 Latinos per week.