NH to abandon federal vaccine scheduling system and create its own

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Coronavirus vaccine. Image/University of Oxford

CONCORD, NH – The state is designing its own online registration system to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations after multiple problems with the federal CDC VAMS system, according to Gov. Sununu’s spokesman Ben Vihstadt.

In response to questions about criticism by the New Hampshire Democratic Party about the federal system, Vihstadt emailed Sununu’s quote: “The state is designing our own registration system, and are hoping to bring it online in the near future. For now, we are using the clunky, federally-run CDC system, and are working to ensure we get a new system in place before we start the next phase.”

The quote went on to reassure people who have been having problems signing up for their second dose they will be able to do so in a timely manner.

“All citizens in Phase 1B will be able to receive their second dose within a week of the recommended date, which is well within the parameters that the CDC recommends. The state will meet these deadlines, and we continue to urge patience,” Sununu said.

Vihstadt said the new state-run system will be operational before the next phase opens up.

There are 325,000 people in the current Phase 1b group of people who are 65 or older or have two or more serious medical problems. A series of problems have occurred during the rollout, including the most recent one in which people were unable or had problems signing up for their second dose in the timeframe recommended by the manufacturer.

In a press release Wednesday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party said Sununu was one of only nine governors to sign up for the “Trump administration’s failed vaccine website,” and that 41 other states have opted out of the federal website.

“New reports show that Governor Sununu ignored warnings from immunization and public health leaders and instead was one of only nine governors to sign up for the Trump administration’s failed vaccine registration program, which has created turmoil and confusion as Granite Staters attempt to register for the vaccine,” the release said.

Vihstadt said it is the federal CDC VAMS website, not the Trump website, and is now run by President Joseph Biden’s administration.

Sununu outlined ditching the federal system Wednesday at the Governor and Executive Council meeting, the Associated Press reported.

The AP quoted Sununu as saying that the state tried to upload a lot of appointment times to the CDC VAMS system but couldn’t add them.

“The federal system couldn’t handle the influx we were giving it, so we’re sort of spoon-feeding it bit by bit,” Sununu told the Executive Council.