Pockets of vaccine hesitancy concern public health officials, advocates

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Susan and Richard Tallman of Northfield wait in line for their vaccine shot in April. Photo/Geoff Forester, Concord Monitor


Public health officials and advocates worry low vaccination rates in several New Hampshire towns could cause a fall surge in COVID-19 cases, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads and the school year nears.

Inoculation rates in 18 communities – with a combined population greater than 30,000 – hover at 35 percent or less as of June 23, according to state Department of Health and Human Services data.

This information has limitations, according to DHHS spokesman Jake Leon. For example, Durham’s vaccination rate of 29 percent could be inaccurate if University of New Hampshire students listed their home address rather than their school address when they got the shot.

Still, the low rates of vaccination are a cause for concern. State and federal health officials from Dr. Anthony Fauci on down say those without vaccinations comprise nearly all new cases. 

Gov. Chris Sununu addressed the issue in a news conference Thursday, encouraging those without vaccinations to get one. 

“The surge that we talk about that is likely to come in the fall, the vast majority, my guess is 99% of that, is going to be of the unvaccinated,” he said. 

Leon said there is likely to be a surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter because that is when respiratory illnesses are most common.

“The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to get vaccinated,” he said.




Despite the low inoculation rates in some communities, the Granite State’s vaccine rollout is considered successful. New Hampshire has vaccinated more than 55% of residents against COVID-19, according to the state’s dashboard, compared to 48.8% of people nationally.  

However, both public health officials and advocates want to boost vaccination rates before a possible fall surge in cases. 

To encourage inoculation, the state started a mobile service to provide free shots. 

More than 100 requests have been made for the mobile clinic, according to Dr. Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease control at DHHS. 

The service has been in use for a week, visiting five places and vaccinating 50 people. 

But availability is only one factor in why people do or don’t get the shot, according to health care experts.

“Ultimately, the decision to get vaccinated comes down to personal choice,” Leon said

.Part of that reasoning could also come from politics.

In the last general election, former President Donald Trump carried eight of the nine towns with the lowest vaccination rates. 

According to a U.N.H. Survey Center poll, Trump voters were five times more likely to say they don’t plan to get vaccinated than Biden voters. 

Environmental consultant Mindi Messmer – co-founder of the nonprofit N.H. Science and Public Health, which educates about disease prevention – agreed that politics might play a role.

“While our work shows that political identity at the town-level is an important factor in vaccination rates, our results also suggest there are other important factors – perhaps sex, social influence, education, risk perception, or access – that influence vaccine hesitancy,” said Messmer, a former Democratic candidate for office.

She added that access to vaccinations and messaging from trusted sources across political ideologies could improve vaccination rates.

“Initial efforts should be targeted on improving access in communities where vaccination rates are low but where access to healthcare has historically been limited,” she said, referring to remote parts of the state where residents have to drive far for healthcare. 

If vaccination rates don’t improve, advocates are concerned about what the fall will look like in New Hampshire. 

“Younger children … will likely not be able to receive a vaccination before school starts in the fall of 2021,” said Nora Traviss, a Keene State College professor who co-founded N.H. Science and Public Health. 

“We must take precautions, which include improving vaccination rates in rural areas, to allow children to stay in school safely and to protect them from infection since the impacts of long COVID are poorly understood.”

Long COVID refers to ongoing side-effects or systems for those who’ve had COVID-19, according to the C.D.C. Lasting effects can include fatigue, joint pain and shortness of breath. 

Town NameTown PopulationAt Least 1 DosePercent At least 1 Dose – TownFully VaccinatedPercent Fully Vaccinated – TownData Suppression Explanation (if applicable)Data as of
Acworth89037041.6%33938.1%6/23/2021
Albany75537950.2%34846.1%6/23/2021
Alexandria1,62478848.5%72244.5%6/23/2021
Allenstown4,4102,03146.1%1,89242.9%6/23/2021
Alstead1,9161,04754.7%98451.4%6/23/2021
Alton5,3253,10258.3%2,87954.1%6/23/2021
Amherst11,7007,46563.8%6,63056.7%6/23/2021
Andover2,3951,36156.8%1,25652.5%6/23/2021
Antrim2,6691,28548.1%1,21445.5%6/23/2021
Ashland2,0651,13755.1%1,05651.1%6/23/2021
Atkinson7,1043,80153.5%3,50849.4%6/23/2021
Atkinson – Gilmanton Academy Grant
*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Auburn5,6443,26557.8%2,99753.1%6/23/2021
Barnstead4,7082,27248.3%2,12145.0%6/23/2021
Barrington9,2475,47359.2%4,94553.5%6/23/2021
Bartlett2,8451,45851.3%1,31346.2%6/23/2021
Bath1,09647243.1%43639.8%6/23/2021
Beans Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Beans Purchase*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Bedford23,21214,19561.2%12,87255.5%6/23/2021
Belmont7,3043,60049.3%3,31745.4%6/23/2021
Bennington1,50266344.1%61040.6%6/23/2021
Benton3719726.2%9124.5%6/23/2021
Berlin9,5905,14653.7%4,79150.0%6/23/2021
Bethlehem2,5491,30051.0%1,14044.7%6/23/2021
Boscawen4,0881,77843.5%1,65540.5%6/23/2021
Bow7,9785,32566.7%5,05963.4%6/23/2021
Bradford1,7061,15667.8%1,07362.9%6/23/2021
Brentwood4,6032,68958.4%2,36351.3%6/23/2021
Bridgewater1,08832329.7%30427.9%6/23/2021
Bristol3,0731,84960.2%1,71955.9%6/23/2021
Brookfield73736649.7%32444.0%6/23/2021
Brookline5,4343,16458.2%2,80351.6%6/23/2021
Cambridge*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Campton3,3502,03260.7%1,91557.2%6/23/2021
Canaan3,9232,19255.9%2,05152.3%6/23/2021
Candia3,9612,06752.2%1,90348.0%6/23/2021
Canterbury2,4271,48161.0%1,40157.7%6/23/2021
Carroll77241353.5%35646.1%6/23/2021
Center Harbor1,08485679.0%77971.9%6/23/2021
Chandlers Purchase*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Charlestown5,0552,29145.3%2,09041.3%6/23/2021
Chatham34517851.6%16146.7%6/23/2021
Chester5,2902,76652.3%2,54548.1%6/23/2021
Chesterfield3,6192,06757.1%1,94753.8%6/23/2021
Chichester2,6551,39952.7%1,31049.3%6/23/2021
Claremont12,9926,04746.5%5,50842.4%6/23/2021
Clarksville26211041.9%10540.0%6/23/2021
Colebrook2,1911,22255.8%1,09550.0%6/23/2021
Columbia7359713.2%8311.3%6/23/2021
Concord43,39126,41460.9%24,44356.3%6/23/2021
Conway10,2427,18570.1%6,56164.1%6/23/2021
Cornish1,62298660.8%89755.3%6/23/2021
Crawfords Purchase*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Croydon76331641.4%29038.0%6/23/2021
Cutts Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Dalton94430632.4%26227.7%6/23/2021
Danbury1,21054945.4%50441.6%6/23/2021
Danville4,5462,05245.1%1,83040.3%6/23/2021
Deerfield4,6522,52854.3%2,32850.0%6/23/2021
Deering1,95677139.4%71936.8%6/23/2021
Derry33,19716,03948.3%14,68844.2%6/23/2021
Dixs Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Dixville*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Dorchester35614941.8%13638.2%6/23/2021
Dover32,22821,68767.3%19,35960.1%6/23/2021
Dublin1,5561,02265.7%94260.5%6/23/2021
Dummer28711841.1%11038.4%6/23/2021
Dunbarton2,9371,63855.8%1,52952.1%6/23/2021
Durham16,3045,20131.9%4,73429.0%6/23/2021
East Kingston2,4201,28152.9%1,15747.8%6/23/2021
Easton2686423.9%5620.9%6/23/2021
Eaton41924358.0%22754.2%6/23/2021
Effingham1,50266544.3%60340.1%6/23/2021
Ellsworth*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Enfield4,6382,99364.5%2,79560.3%6/23/2021
Epping7,0203,81054.3%3,40148.4%6/23/2021
Epsom4,8332,47051.1%2,31247.8%6/23/2021
Errol27921777.7%19168.4%6/23/2021
Ervings Location*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Exeter15,35812,73382.9%11,64075.8%6/23/2021
Farmington6,9772,89641.5%2,56336.7%6/23/2021
Fitzwilliam2,3621,03843.9%97841.4%6/23/2021
Francestown1,59982151.3%75847.4%6/23/2021
Franconia1,11467961.0%61455.1%6/23/2021
Franklin8,7973,81243.3%3,51840.0%6/23/2021
Freedom1,6001,02764.2%93058.1%6/23/2021
Fremont4,7572,45651.6%2,19446.1%6/23/2021
Gilford7,2074,65264.6%4,29059.5%6/23/2021
Gilmanton3,7842,08455.1%1,94551.4%6/23/2021
Gilsum80738748.0%36044.6%6/23/2021
Goffstown18,0957,59442.0%6,97638.6%6/23/2021
Gorham2,6591,56959.0%1,46855.2%6/23/2021
Goshen80635443.9%33741.8%6/23/2021
Grafton1,34963747.2%58243.1%6/23/2021
Grantham2,9862,57486.2%2,40380.5%6/23/2021
Greenfield1,79385947.9%77343.1%6/23/2021
Greenland4,1392,68164.8%2,46059.4%6/23/2021
Greens Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Greenville2,09782039.1%72434.5%6/23/2021
Groton60014123.5%13021.7%6/23/2021
Hadleys Purchase*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Hales Location12410382.8%8770.0%6/23/2021
Hampstead8,7274,96356.9%4,53552.0%6/23/2021
Hampton15,1839,77364.4%8,70457.3%6/23/2021
Hampton Falls2,4241,39857.7%1,24751.4%6/23/2021
Hancock1,6801,19070.9%1,11066.1%6/23/2021
Hanover11,3168,29573.3%7,50566.3%6/23/2021
Harrisville94364868.7%62165.9%6/23/2021
Harts Location*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Haverhill4,5882,24448.9%2,06645.0%6/23/2021
Hebron61848778.8%44772.3%6/23/2021
Henniker4,9692,36247.5%2,16443.6%6/23/2021
Hill1,11245540.9%41937.7%6/23/2021
Hillsborough6,0442,51941.7%2,35739.0%6/23/2021
Hinsdale3,9641,76944.6%1,64541.5%6/23/2021
Holderness2,0971,56574.6%1,45969.6%6/23/2021
Hollis8,0325,53468.9%4,98062.0%6/23/2021
Hooksett14,78911,92180.6%10,96274.1%6/23/2021
Hopkinton5,7663,85466.8%3,60362.5%6/23/2021
Hudson25,73713,00650.5%11,77545.8%6/23/2021
Jackson85178992.7%70282.5%6/23/2021
Jaffrey5,2982,47646.7%2,31443.7%6/23/2021
Jefferson1,07038736.2%33931.7%6/23/2021
Keene22,88712,86956.2%11,89652.0%6/23/2021
Kensington2,1431,23557.6%1,11652.1%6/23/2021
Kilkenny*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Kingston6,2302,91646.8%2,65242.6%6/23/2021
Laconia16,5989,04954.5%8,30550.0%6/23/2021
Lancaster3,3412,99589.6%2,64879.3%6/23/2021
Landaff41716639.8%14935.7%6/23/2021
Langdon68431846.5%29743.4%6/23/2021
Lebanon13,85110,87478.5%9,98472.1%6/23/2021
Lee4,5442,88963.6%2,66558.6%6/23/2021
Lempster1,16143537.5%40735.0%6/23/2021
Lincoln1,72097956.9%87350.8%6/23/2021
Lisbon1,66163838.4%56734.1%6/23/2021
Litchfield8,7094,77454.8%4,33749.8%6/23/2021
Littleton5,8436,748100.0%6,042100.0%6/23/2021
Livermore*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Londonderry26,22514,21054.2%12,87849.1%6/23/2021
Loudon5,7383,25956.8%3,06953.5%6/23/2021
Low – Burbanks Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Lyman53923142.8%21139.1%6/23/2021
Lyme1,7011,27474.9%1,19270.1%6/23/2021
Lyndeborough1,74283748.0%74742.9%6/23/2021
Madbury1,8711,24866.7%1,14761.3%6/23/2021
Madison2,6551,44154.3%1,30149.0%6/23/2021
Manchester111,67956,43250.5%49,36744.2%6/23/2021
Marlborough2,0931,18656.7%1,12253.6%6/23/2021
Marlow73137951.9%35248.2%6/23/2021
Martins Location*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Mason1,44063143.8%55038.2%6/23/2021
Meredith6,3773,91761.4%3,55655.8%6/23/2021
Merrimack26,46616,12360.9%14,46854.7%6/23/2021
Middleton1,83772239.3%65235.5%6/23/2021
Milan1,26966252.2%62349.1%6/23/2021
Milford16,1438,18450.7%7,13544.2%6/23/2021
Millsfield*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Milton4,6802,06044.0%1,82038.9%6/23/2021
Monroe80033341.6%30438.0%6/23/2021
Mont Vernon2,6241,52258.0%1,33751.0%6/23/2021
Moultonborough4,1402,89369.9%2,63063.5%6/23/2021
Nashua89,64849,33255.0%44,32649.4%6/23/2021
Nelson72037852.5%34848.3%6/23/2021
New Boston5,9083,38457.3%2,99950.8%6/23/2021
New Castle96676979.6%69672.0%6/23/2021
New Durham2,6771,34150.1%1,21645.4%6/23/2021
New Hampton2,2831,36960.0%1,25054.8%6/23/2021
New Ipswich5,3751,77933.1%1,63730.5%6/23/2021
New London4,1563,16976.2%2,94470.8%6/23/2021
Newbury2,2141,38062.3%1,29358.4%6/23/2021
Newfields1,7201,08763.2%99457.8%6/23/2021
Newington79961677.1%56270.4%6/23/2021
Newmarket9,4455,50858.3%5,06753.6%6/23/2021
Newport6,3563,10448.8%2,90345.7%6/23/2021
Newton4,9592,00940.5%1,82036.7%6/23/2021
North Hampton4,5752,84162.1%2,57456.3%6/23/2021
Northfield4,9302,12743.1%1,97340.0%6/23/2021
Northumberland2,12355826.3%47422.3%6/23/2021
Northwood4,2932,34054.5%2,15350.1%6/23/2021
Nottingham5,1362,93957.2%2,68252.2%6/23/2021
Odell*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Orange33217251.9%16750.4%6/23/2021
Orford1,23872358.4%68555.3%6/23/2021
Ossipee4,4482,23750.3%2,03745.8%6/23/2021
Pelham14,1556,57346.4%6,04942.7%6/23/2021
Pembroke7,1603,90554.5%3,65951.1%6/23/2021
Peterborough6,7753,69854.6%3,46351.1%6/23/2021
Piermont77742054.0%39350.6%6/23/2021
Pinkhams Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Pittsburg83848557.9%43952.4%6/23/2021
Pittsfield4,1351,67040.4%1,56437.8%6/23/2021
Plainfield2,3961,66169.3%1,54864.6%6/23/2021
Plaistow7,7373,39843.9%3,07239.7%6/23/2021
Plymouth6,7993,38549.8%3,09145.5%6/23/2021
Portsmouth22,17114,74266.5%13,60461.4%6/23/2021
Randolph29118965.1%17760.9%6/23/2021
Raymond10,4725,04548.2%4,46442.6%6/23/2021
Richmond1,15244939.0%42837.2%6/23/2021
Rindge6,0992,22436.5%2,04433.5%6/23/2021
Rochester31,41416,79253.5%14,84247.2%6/23/2021
Rollinsford2,6141,47156.3%1,34151.3%6/23/2021
Roxbury21910447.5%9945.2%6/23/2021
Rumney1,47487159.1%80354.5%6/23/2021
Rye5,4703,75068.6%3,43262.7%6/23/2021
Salem29,91015,10250.5%14,03746.9%6/23/2021
Salisbury1,43868247.4%63544.2%6/23/2021
Sanbornton2,9851,66655.8%1,55952.2%6/23/2021
Sandown6,4633,04847.2%2,73542.3%6/23/2021
Sandwich1,36195570.2%87864.5%6/23/2021
Sargents Purchase*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Seabrook8,8903,88243.7%3,42638.5%6/23/2021
Second College Grant*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Sharon36320556.5%19353.1%6/23/2021
Shelburne35818250.9%16947.3%6/23/2021
Somersworth12,0057,22860.2%6,50254.2%6/23/2021
South Hampton82540849.5%37044.9%6/23/2021
Springfield1,31865950.0%61446.6%6/23/2021
Stark54014426.6%13224.4%6/23/2021
Stewartstown98137438.1%33934.6%6/23/2021
Stoddard1,24759547.7%56445.2%6/23/2021
Strafford4,2362,37356.0%2,15850.9%6/23/2021
Stratford72432745.1%28639.5%6/23/2021
Stratham7,5475,06367.1%4,63961.5%6/23/2021
Success*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Sugar Hill57428950.4%26045.3%6/23/2021
Sullivan68335952.6%34250.1%6/23/2021
Sunapee3,4222,20664.5%2,06060.2%6/23/2021
Surry74251168.8%47864.4%6/23/2021
Sutton1,89975139.5%69636.7%6/23/2021
Swanzey7,2273,82452.9%3,62250.1%6/23/2021
Tamworth2,9261,50451.4%1,36946.8%6/23/2021
Temple1,41674752.7%68048.0%6/23/2021
Thompson – Meserves Purchase*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Thornton2,5691,52059.2%1,41855.2%6/23/2021
Tilton3,6492,29462.9%2,13958.6%6/23/2021
Troy2,09089542.8%82739.6%6/23/2021
Tuftonboro2,4301,41958.4%1,26852.2%6/23/2021
Unity1,57433021.0%30619.4%6/23/2021
Wakefield5,1552,31244.9%2,09840.7%6/23/2021
Walpole3,7742,21758.8%2,06154.6%6/23/2021
Warner2,9431,78660.7%1,66056.4%6/23/2021
Warren91551256.0%47652.0%6/23/2021
Washington1,12157651.4%53647.8%6/23/2021
Waterville Valley244402100.0%362100.0%6/23/2021
Weare9,0294,38148.5%4,05344.9%6/23/2021
Webster1,9201,00652.4%92548.2%6/23/2021
Wentworth91047952.6%42746.9%6/23/2021
Wentworths Location*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported*Data Not Reported: Data not available for towns with less than a population of 100 – data limited to protect the privacy of individuals6/23/2021
Westmoreland1,70897557.1%89952.6%6/23/2021
Whitefield2,24478635.0%69631.0%6/23/2021
Wilmot1,39687262.5%78956.5%6/23/2021
Wilton3,7792,04254.0%1,79447.5%6/23/2021
Winchester4,2481,59437.5%1,49335.1%6/23/2021
Windham14,7698,70158.9%8,02554.3%6/23/2021
Windsor22411149.6%9944.2%6/23/2021
Wolfeboro6,3295,42485.7%4,65673.6%6/23/2021
Woodstock1,35882961.1%76856.6%6/23/2021

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