WASHINGTON – As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its one-year anniversary, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) gathered local health experts from across the Granite State on Wednesday to obtain more information on the rollout of recently introduced COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Patricia Tilley, Deputy Director of Public Health, NH Department of Health & Human Services, so far 80,000 doses of the available vaccines have been given so far to 50,000 Granite Staters. Tilley added that pharmacies and other facilities will eventually receive access to the vaccines as well, with the hope that they will eventually become as ubiquitous as flu shots.
In the meantime, logistical challenges remain.
Several participants in the roundtable complained about specific information on the rollout of the vaccine, with some saying that the need to try and find answers for patients was a distraction from the goal of vaccine implementation itself. A lack of intensive care unit beds across the state also remains as a problem, but not to the level found elsewhere in the country.
A number of participants in the roundtable also urged the general public to be patient as additional logistical resources and information become available.
Shaheen told the roundtable that she appreciated their input and hopes for more input as efforts to end the pandemic continue, stating she acknowledges their concerns regarding the needed resources to provide vaccine doses to the public as well as a lack of clear communication regarding specifics of vaccine implementation strategy.
Shaheen added that she was disappointed with a formula provided by the Centers for Disease Control regarding vaccine distribution which she believed was manipulated in favor of larger states.
The State of New Hampshire has divided the vaccine distribution process into three phases, with the first half of the first phase (Phase 1a) now underway providing the vaccines to at-risk health workers, residents of long-term care facilities and first responders.
More information about the three phases and other New Hampshire-related COVID-19 information is available at www.nh.gov/covid19.