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State Lays Out COVID Vaccine Timeline, With Phases Stretching Into Summer

Administration of vaccines outside Elliot Hospital.
Jordyn Haime / NHPR

Ten months into a pandemic that has claimed nearly 800 lives in New Hampshire, state public health officials on Tuesday released more details on who will get vaccinated for COVID-19, and when.

The timing of vaccine distribution is subject to change, based on how quickly the federal government can allocate doses to states, and how fast states are able to get those doses into the arms of willing recipients.

New Hampshire launched its first phase -- dubbed Phase 1A -- in mid-December. Frontline health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and first responders are currently able to get the vaccine. As of Tuesday, approximately 30,000 initial doses have been administered, state officials said.

Phase 1A is expected to run through January.

description of 1A
Credit State of NH
Phase 1A

During a press conference Tuesday, state officials laid out the next phases of vaccine distribution.  

Phase 1B includes residents 75 years old and older, as well as people with significant medical conditions that leave them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Also in Phase 1B are residents and staff of facilities that care for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and corrections officers.

descripcion de la fase 1B
Credit State of NH
Phase 1B

The state says it will release guidance in the coming weeks for what medical conditions may qualify for inclusion in Phase 1B. Physicians and other health care providers will have decision-making authority, according to public health officials.

Phase 1B is expected to begin in late January and run through March, with approximately 225,000 residents receiving vaccinations.

Phase 2A is slated to begin in March: It includes residents 65 to 74 years in age, as well as K-12 school staff, and childcare staff. This group includes 175,000 people, and will wrap up vaccinations in May.

descripcion de la fase 2A
Credit State of NH
Phase 2A

Phase 2B includes those 50 to 65 years old. The state estimates this will cover 200,000 people, with vaccines completed by May.

descripcion de la fase 2B
Credit State of NH
Phase 2B

Phase 3A will include those under the age of 50 who have moderate risk factors related to COVID-19. The state did not release details on what those factors may include. Vaccinations in this group will begin in May.

descripcion de la fase 3A
Credit State of NH
Phase 3A

Finally, Phase 3B will include healthy people under the age of 50. There are approximately 325,000 people in this category. Vaccines will begin in May and stretch into the summer.

descripcion de la fase 3B
Credit State of NH
Phase 3B

Inmates at the state's jails and prisons will be administered vaccines following the same guidelines as the general population, with age and health conditions determining which phase recipients fall under.

Public health officials said that they would release information in the coming weeks for how those seeking vaccines can make appointments. 

“We just ask folks to keep checking in, and we’ll keep folks updated,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “I think the next few weeks will be really pivotal as we nail down some of these details.”

The state is currently operating a number of clinics for frontline workers to receive vaccinations. Hospitals and pharmacies are also likely to offer vaccines as more become available.

To date, around 53,000 doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the state. Another 17,175 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected to arrive this week in New Hampshire. Both vaccines require two doses to achieve maxium protection. 

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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