In this Jan. 7, 2021, file photo, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott stands on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse during a ceremony in Montpelier, Vermont. Credit: Wilson Ring / AP

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The state of Vermont is going to require that state employees who work with vulnerable populations be vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday.

Scott said he changed his mind about requiring the vaccine for a portion of the state workforce because of how the highly transmissible delta strain of the virus is responsible for most new cases in the state.

“It’s shown how quickly it can spread,” Scott said of the delta variant during his regular Tuesday virus briefing. “We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable, those under our care, and I think those in the veterans’ home, the psychiatric hospital as well as the offenders in the correctional facilities, they are under our care.”

Scott said there would be “some sort of an exit ramp” for those who don’t want to be vaccinated. It could be regular testing or something else that hasn’t been determined yet.

Scott said he did not know about how many state employees the requirement would cover. He also said he did not expect to have to expand that requirement to other state employees.

Story by Wilson Ring, Associated Press