Six weeks ago, a group of five front-line healthcare workers at Elliot Hospital in Manchester posed for the cameras as they received the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in New Hampshire. Since then, 70,000 additional frontline health workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and first responders have received at least their first dose as part of what the state is calling Phase 1A of its vaccination effort.
Now, the state is entering Phase 1B, which will include vaccinating up to 300,000 additional residents. Here are the basics:
Who is now eligible?
Beginning January 26, any New Hampshire resident aged 65 and over will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, residents under 65 who have two or more serious medical conditions are also now eligible. The state has released a list of qualifying conditions, seen below:
All corrections staff at New Hampshire prison and jails are also part of Phase 1B, as are residents and staff of facilities that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Inmates of jails and prisons will receive vaccines based on their age and medical condition, in line with the general population.)
How can I sign up?
Beginning at 8am Friday, January 22, the state is encouraging anyone aged 65 and over to register and schedule a vaccination at vaccines.nh.gov.
After entering basic information, respondents will get a confirmation email that will include a link to schedule an appointment. After originally saying the email would arrive within 24 hours, the state now says users will receive the confirmation email within 3-5 day, at the latest.
If you aren’t strong with a computer or don’t have internet access, family members and friends can make appointments online on your behalf, as long as the person getting the vaccine meets the age requirements.
Earlier this week, a state official said they were “confident” the website would hold up under the expected heavy traffic in the opening hours.
Alternatively, people without reliable internet access or who would prefer to speak to a human can also call 2-1-1, where the state says hundreds of receptionists including members of the National Guard will be available to process vaccination requests.
For those younger than 65 who believe they qualify based on having two serious medical conditions, they must contact their medical provider to receive a verification. Medical providers will then alert the state, and schedule vaccine appointments for their qualifying patients.
Some health care providers are taking a proactive approach, already reaching out to patients they believe qualify under the guidelines.
However, some medical providers are already expressing concern about a flood of incoming calls from people seeking vaccines.
Patience is requested.
How Quickly Are the Shots Coming?
Again, the state is asking for patience.
Right now, New Hampshire is only receiving between 17,000 and 18,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per week from federal distributors.
With hundreds of thousands of newly eligible residents, the state is forecasting that vaccinations for this phase will run through March, and possibly longer, depending on how many people request vaccines.
What About Second Doses?
On Thursday, the state announced that people will make appointments for their second dose of the vaccine onsite as they receive their first dose.
If for some reason you are unable to make a second appointment onsite, the state will also send an email to those who registered online with a link to make a second appointment.
Can My Spouse and I Register For the Same Time Slots?
UPDATE: After stating earlier this week that couples and those who co-habitate would not be able to register and schedule appointments together, the state said Friday that it was now able to process requests for up to two people to register and get vaccinated during the same time slot.
Who Comes Next After Phase 1B?
The state has released a detailed breakdown of all future phases (see below.) Following the completion of Phase 1B, educators in K-12 schools, as well as childcare staff, will be eligible for vaccines.
In Phase 2B, residents aged 50-64 will be eligible.
Phases 3A and 3B will include medically vulnerable people under the age of 50, followed by everyone else who hasn’t been vaccinated.
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(This post has been updated to reflect new information released by the state.)