State health officials announced Thursday that New Hampshire residents ages 65 and over will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine during the state's next phase, 1b, aligning with federal recommendations.
New Hampshire is currently working to vaccinate those within phase 1a, which includes frontline health care workers, first responders, and residents and staff of long term care facilities. Phase 1b is slated to begin at the end of January.
Starting Jan. 22, those eligible can register for a vaccine at www.vaccines.nh.gov, and administration to that group will begin Jan.26. The public can also visit the site to find out where they fit in the vaccination timeline.
Those with two or more health conditions that put them at significantly higher risk for COVID-19 will also be eligible and should contact their doctor for confirmation of their conditions before registering for a shot.
Also in the 1b group are people with developmental and intellectual disabilities living in group settings, and staff at correctional facilities, who will be contacted by their area public health network to schedule a clinic in late February or early March.
Mobile vaccination clinics will begin reaching out to disproportionately impacted communities, mainly in Manchester and Nashua, starting later this month.
New Hampshire health providers expressed concerns earlier this week with the logistical effort of vaccinating 300,000 people in the next phase, particularly when it comes to ongoing staffing challenges.
"We're talking about the biggest public health crisis in the state's history. And if in the next few weeks doctors have to spend a little extra time checking that those who are medically vulnerable are next in line, as they should be, I think that's a very appropriate system and it's actually a very simple system," Sununu said.
And in the past week, after New Hampshire strayed from CDC recommendations to vaccinate essential workers in phase 1b, many have questioned the current timeline. That includes social workers and teachers, as ski patrollers were recently bumped up to phase 1a and have started getting shots.
New Hampshire continues to receive a limited number of doses every week, numbering around 18,000.
"I appreciate that teachers are in close contact with kids. But getting the vaccine right now has to be about those that are at the highest risk of fatality, those at the highest risk of being put in the hospital, and those that care for those who are at highest risk of having a fatality or being in the hospital because of COVID," Sununu said.