As New Hampshire’s most vulnerable groups continue to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, health officials are working on plans for future steps in the state's vaccination plan.
As of Thursday, 21,126 of the highest-risk people in New Hampshire have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or about 1.6 percent of the total population. Data from the CDC shows that New Hampshire is vaccinating at a similar rate to most other states across the country, but lagging behind neighboring states like Vermont and Maine.
According to state data, 64,775 total doses of the vaccine are available, and about a third of available doses have been given out so far. Of those, more than half have been administered at hospitals. Another 17,175 doses are expected to arrive this week.
The state is currently behind its goal to vaccinate all 112,915 people in the initial group by the end of January. Nationally, Operation Warp Speed failed in vaccinating its goal of 20 million people by the end of 2020, with only 2.1 million getting shots by Dec. 31.
Beth Daly, chief of the state’s Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said that with the recent opening of 13 state-managed vaccination clinics, staffed by the National Guard and the Medical Reserve Corps, things will speed up.
“People are just getting mobilized and ramping up their activities to be able to offer clinics to their staff, and for pharmacy programs to get into long term care facilities," Daly said. "It’s going to quickly speed up soon."
Under that goal, people in the second priority group may begin to get their shots in late January or early February. Providers and pharmacies have begun enrolling with the state to administer COVID-19 vaccines “to make it as accessible as possible to people,” Daly said.
Health officials are still working to determine exactly who will be included in those groups, but Daly said plans will be released this week.
She says by March or April, the state aims to vaccinate 100 people per hour at each of the vaccination sites, which will eventually have the capacity to give 25,000 shots per week.