If you’re over 65 you can register next week in NH for COVID-19 vaccine

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NH DHHS list of who can get the COVID-19 vaccine and when they can get it.


CONCORD, NH – Facing mounting criticism about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Gov. Chris Sununu came to his weekly news conference Thursday armed with charts and graphs and news of a major change that will allow people 65 and older – instead of 75 and older – to register for the shot Jan. 22.

This will include about 300,000 people in Phase 1b who will be able to start getting the first dose of the vaccine on Jan. 26 after they register, Sununu said. Medically vulnerable people of all ages who will also be eligible will need to get certification from their doctors that they have two or more medical conditions that qualify for the early vaccine.

But people 65 and older will simply go to vaccines.nh.gov to register, Sununu said, but not until next Friday.

One caveat is the state will only sign up people if they have enough vaccine to guarantee the shot will be available. The federal government allots New Hampshire about 17,000 to 18,000 vaccine doses a week so it could take some time to vaccinate this population after finishing Phase 1a consisting of first responders, front-line medical providers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

“We can only sign up folks up as we know the vaccine is coming in,” Sununu said. The state hotline 211 is being ramped up to respond to questions and more information is available on the Health and Human Services website. It’s a huge undertaking, Sununu said.

“We ask folks to be patient. Please be patient,” Sununu said. Appointments for people in this group could be pushed out anywhere from two to six weeks depending on the availability of the vaccine, he said.

Sununu said there will be more sites to provide the shots in the future as currently the first responders had no emergency site in Coos County. Those people had to drive at least to Littleton to get vaccinated.

Sununu also responded to criticism from NEA-NH that ski patrol members will get vaccinated well before teachers.

New Hampshire is one of only two states — along with New Jersey — that will not vaccinate educators by Phase 1b — in defiance of CDC guidelines that say Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout should prioritize frontline educators, according to NEA-NH.

Sununu said that is because members of ski patrols provide emergency medical services and teachers do not. Sununu often disparages teachers’ unions at the news conferences.

After the news conference, NEA-NH said in a news release: “During his press conference today, Governor Sununu stated teacher unions are blocking the reopening of school. So we’re asking Governor: please name the school NEA-NH has stopped from re-opening. If you want our schools to reopen, why are out-of-state ski patrol members getting vaccines before classroom teachers?”

The release also encouraged educators who are outraged to have to wait until downhill skiing is safe before their classroom is made safe to call Sununu at 603-271-2121.

FBI Warning

Sununu also addressed the FBI warning that the capitol buildings in all 50 states should be prepared for possible violence after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump supporters starting this weekend through the inauguration of President-elect Joseph Biden.

“I have been assured by the Department of Safety that we are prepared…,” Sununu said, adding that protesters will be able to clearly express their right to demonstrate as long as they comply with state and federal laws.

Sununu also again refused to say whether he supports the impeachment of President Trump. A Trump supporter, Sununu said with so much going on in the country and state right now, he would leave that decision to Congress.

Numbers Update

Dr. Ben Chan, state epidemiologist, announced that 706 new people were diagnosed Thursday with COVID-19.

“During the last week we continue to average between 750 to 800 new cases per day statewide. This number has been stable for several weeks,” Chan said, and hospitalizations were down to 270.

“Sadly, there are 12 new people we are announcing who have died bringing the total to 897,” Chan said. Nine of the 12 were associated with long-term care facilities.

In the last week 70 people have died averaging 10 people a day from COVID-19, Chan said.

Chan also announced quarantine changes. The state is no longer requiring quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 or travel-related risk factors for people who are fully vaccinated and that means having two doses and waiting 14 days beyond the second dose.

“This is not a free pass to travel or a free pass to ignore restrictions,” Chan said. “We continue to recommend against any non-essential travel.”

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Nancy West

PublisherInDepthNH.org

Nancy West is publisher of InDepthNH.org.