New Hampshire will begin vaccinating first responders against COVID-19 at 13 sites across the state on Tuesday.
Seven of the sites will operate five days per week, and six sites will operate two to three days per week, depending on population density, according to Gov. Chris Sununu's office. EMS workers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers will be able to register for a vaccine clinic through their respective organizations.
“We are making great strides in deploying the COVID-19 vaccine to people working on the front lines and at highest risk of exposure. We have heard from many first responders and high-risk healthcare workers who work directly with patients and are scheduling their vaccine appointments starting tomorrow,” said Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
In Tilton — which has most recently been the site of an outbreak at the state Veterans Home, where 36 people have died — around 90 first responders are signed up to be immunized across two separate clinics. That includes every fire and EMS worker, said Timothy Joubert, deputy fire chief for Tilton-Northfield.
"I think in everybody's opinion, the pros outweighs the cons," Joubert said. "There was a little nervousness on our part, especially with the career staff, if some side effects took place ... but the side effects reported so far have been pretty minimal, and it's just a risk we're willing to take at this time."
"We did have a couple of positive cases within the department, and it really heightened our awareness on it even more, so I think that's helped contribute to people willing to get the vaccine as well," he added.
According to state health officials, over 100,000 of the state's most vulnerable people will be vaccinated by mid-January.