Sununu: First COVID-19 vaccinations in NH by Christmas

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Above: NH’s vaccine distribution plan.

DURHAM, NH – Gov. Chris Sununu said New Hampshire’s citizens who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection will be able to get the first dose of the vaccine by Christmas.

Once the vaccine arrives, it will be totally up to the state to determine who will receive it in the first round, Sununu said.

In New Hampshire, the state Department of Health and Human Services said in a draft policy that the first phase to get the vaccine will include older adults living in residential care settings like nursing homes and assisted living facilities, first responders and high-risk workers in health-care facilities.

“We’re absolutely ready,” Sununu said. “We anticipate the first vials of the vaccine from Pfizer to be released in about two weeks or less.”

The plan the state presented to the public recently still stands today, Sununu said.

“The recipients of the vaccine will be healthcare workers not just in hospitals, but in long-term care facilities and those with underlying conditions in those long-term care facilities,” Sununu said.

Sununu provided an optimistic timeline for COVID-19 vaccine arriving in New Hampshire while responding to a question posed by outgoing Executive Councilor Debora Pignatelli, D-Nashua, at the Council’s regular meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was held at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Sununu briefly paused the Council meeting to swear in the lawmakers as part of Organization Day.

One week after the Pfizer vaccine of about 10,000 doses is distributed, Sununu said he expects the Moderna vaccine with 20,000 or more doses.

“They haven’t given us exact numbers but that’s the ballpark we are looking at,” he said.

“You’re going to have the first individuals here in New Hampshire vaccinated – tens of thousands of them frankly – getting their first phase of the vaccine before Christmas.”

He said all of the vaccines require two doses, either 21 days or 28 days after the first.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is putting together a reservation system.

“The goal is to make it as easy as getting your flu shot,” Sununu said.

The vast majority of the population will be able to receive the vaccine in February and March as more vials become available, he said.

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Nancy West

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