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N.H. Now in Top 10 States For Administering At Least One Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

A sign outside a Plymouth vaccination site reads "COVID-19 vaccination site by appts only"
Sarah Gibson, NHPR
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Fixed sites, like this one in Plymouth, are one part of New Hampshire's vaccine strategy. The state also relies on hospitals, some pharmacies and targeted outreach through public health networks.

Editor's note: This post was updated after publication with additional information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

More than one in five New Hampshire residents has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That puts the state narrowly ahead of most other states, according to CDC data.

Over the past two weeks, New Hampshire has managed to improve its standing when it comes to getting an initial vaccine shot to its residents. On Feb. 24, we were in the top 20 states; by March 9, we were in the top 10.

(Questions about how to get the vaccine in New Hampshire? We can help.

We’ve also improved our standing when it comes to the share of available vaccines administered. Two weeks ago, we were toward the bottom of all states, but as of March 10 we fall closer to the middle.

In the same timeframe, however, we’ve fallen farther behind in terms of the share of residents who are fully vaccinated. As of Feb. 24, we were ahead of about half of states; as of yesterday, we were closer to the bottom 10.

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Each state updates its vaccine data at different intervals. In New Hampshire, however, state health officials say doses are usually logged in data reporting systems within a day, if not sooner.

“The data is reported within 24 hours once a dose is administered,” said Department of Health and Human Services Communications Director Jake Leon, “though most of the vaccines are logged in real time when administered, which is immediately available to the CDC because the data is entered in [the federal government’s Vaccine Administration Management System].”

And while it’s hard to attribute changes in weekly vaccine distribution to specific policy decisions, it comes amid an ongoing push to expand vaccine access in New Hampshire on several fronts.

Over the past month, regional public health networks have ramped up efforts to reach underserved communities across the state, through a program designed to get vaccines to people at heightened risk for COVID-19 or who otherwise might have trouble getting a shot.

(Catch up on the latest COVID-19 updates from NHPR here.)

State health officials, working with regional public health networks, have also expanded their focus on reaching homebound individuals. And last weekend, the state held its first mass vaccination site at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, setting a goal of reaching more than 11,000 people in three days.

But it’s worth keeping in mind that New Hampshire’s race to get more shots to its residents also comes as lots of other states are doing the same — and as more states, including New Hampshire, are getting thousands of new doses by the week. Our ranking relative to other states depends on all of these factors, and it’s liable to shift day to day, or week to week.

(Have you tried to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Or have you already received your shot? We want to hear what that experience was like for you.)

Casey McDermott is an editor and reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, where she works with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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