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Vaccine milestone reached in Maine; CCSU offering housing credit for those vaccinated

Half of Maine's population of age 16 and up has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Janet Mills said Sunday.

That amount includes 38% of eligible residents who received their final dose, Mills said in a news release.

“We’re now approaching 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered into the arms of Maine people, a remarkable achievement made possible through our collaboration with health care providers, volunteers, and countless others throughout the state,” said Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday that the state has been the site of more than 57,000 cases of the virus and 765 deaths, including one new one, and more than 400 infections.

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CONNECTICUT

Central Connecticut State University held an on-campus vaccine clinic on Sunday, offering a $50 housing credit to students for next fall who show proof of full vaccination.

Some students don’t need the incentive.

“I think it’s necessary because it will help everyone stay safe so that campus can kind of return to normal,” said CCSU freshman Rachel Breault, WVIT-TV reported.

The university said it hoped to vaccinate 800 preregistered students at the event, each receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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VERMONT

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott will allow a coronavirus relief bill to become law without his signature, saying it contains “urgently needed” funds for Vermonters, but encourages “unwise” use of American Rescue Plan Act and school emergency funds.

The Republican governor, in a statement to legislators released Saturday night, said the bill started out in January by funding urgent pandemic needs, but over the the next two months it evolved into a more complex measure.

Scott highlighted “valuable relief” provisions in the bill, such as $47 million for budget initiatives he advocated for, including economic aid to businesses, emergency housing needs, and environmental clean-up. Money also is going to foreclosure prevention, mental health services.

However, Scott said the bill “includes policy and spending choices that suggest we have very different opinions about how best to deploy the federal recovery and economic stimulus funding.”

Scott said he doesn’t support deploying the federal coronavirus relief aid “in a piecemeal fashion across a hodgepodge of bills and programs.”

Vermont reported nearly 150 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, for a statewide total since the pandemic began of more than 22,000. A total of 26 people were hospitalized with five in intensive care. No new deaths were reported, with the total remaining at 242.

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MASSACHUSETTS

More than 2 million Massachusetts have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said.

Baker shared the milestone in a tweet on Saturday.

The state Department of Public Health said most residents received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. More than 201,000 people received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“On Monday, everyone 16 or older will be eligible, and we look forward to continuing our progress vaccinating our residents,” Baker's tweet read.

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RHODE ISLAND

The free bus rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Rhode Island are starting Monday.

Gov. Daniel McKee said at a news conference last week that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will provide the rides to people traveling to or from a vaccination appointment. He said people who need a ride should contact RIPTA customer service via email or telephone.

Vaccine eligibility is open to all people age 16 and older as of Monday.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

An annual contest that rewards high school journalists in New Hampshire has been adjusted this year to take into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Previously, those competing for the Brodsky Prize were required to submit examples of published work. But given the challenges the pandemic posed to school papers, this year’s contest asks students to submit essays of up to 800 words about how the pandemic has challenged their communities or schools, and how it could lead to positive changes.

The $5,000 prize, established by a former editor of the school paper at Central High School in Manchester, is open to all New Hampshire high school seniors. The deadline for submissions is May 14.

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