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N.H.'s Interstate Teachers Say They're Stuck In COVID Vaccine No Man's Land

A vaccination site in Dover, New Hampshire.
Sarah Gibson/NHPR
A vaccination site for teachers in Dover, N.H., March 2021. Some teachers who live in New Hampshire but teach in neighboring states say they've been left out of vaccination plans.

New Hampshire residents who work as teachers in nearby states say they're having a hard time getting vaccinated, despite New England's efforts to give shots to educators.

Under New Hampshire’s current vaccine plan, people who teach in K-12 schools in New Hampshire can get a vaccine, even if they live in another state. But New Hampshire is not prioritizing vaccines for Granite Staters who teach outside the state.

Anna Leijon-Guth of Portsmouth said that’s a problem for her and a handful of her colleagues who work at schools across the border in Kittery, Maine.

"You live in a twilight zone and you're in the crack and you can't get vaccinated,” she said.

Leijon-Guth and her colleagues have been contacting elected officials in both states to get them to fix this. After many unsuccessful attempts to register for an appointment in Maine, Leijon-Goth said she scheduled one, but she fears being turned away when she shows her New Hampshire drivers’ license.

Sarah Safford, a Randolph resident who teaches in Maine, woke up this morning to register on the New Hampshire's new registration portal, only to discover that her job across the border meant she wasn't eligible.

"I can't believe that this wasn't figured out ahead of time," she wrote to NHPR. "I've been teaching in person, five days a week since September, but because I live in a different state than I work, I'm out of luck on getting vaccinated."

A spokesman for the Maine state health department said it is only offering vaccines to teachers and childcare providers who live there, because of its limited vaccine supply.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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