Your Guide To Coronavirus Vaccines In New Hampshire | New Hampshire Public Radio

Your Guide To Coronavirus Vaccines In New Hampshire

11 hours ago

Doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all being administered in New Hampshire  — marking a turning point, but not the end, of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the state and the country continue the monumental effort of immunizing people, here are answers to some questions you might have about the vaccine.

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Who is eligible to get the vaccine right now?

Note: On Monday, May 10 the Food and Drug Administration said that children 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech  COVID-19 vaccine as the agency expanded its emergency use authorization. We will update this post with more information on vaccinations for this age group in New Hampshire as it becomes available.

Any person aged 16 and older, regardless of residency, is eligible to sign up to receive a coronavirus vaccine in New Hampshire through the state’s registration system. This includes out-of-state college students and second home owners. 

The state estimates that all New Hampshire residents over the age of 16 who want a coronavirus vaccine will receive their first shot by Memorial Day.

Regional public health networks across the state have been leading the effort to improve vaccine access for disproportionately impacted communities. 10% of the state’s vaccine supply has been allocated for these communities. The state offers more information about its equity plan here.

Veterans, their spouses and their caregivers are eligible to sign up for the vaccine through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Click here for information on signing up for a coronavirus vaccine through the VA.

To view the data on vaccine distribution in New Hampshire, visit our coronavirus tracker.

How can I register and schedule a vaccine?

You can register for the vaccine now at www.vaccines.nh.gov. The site also offers tools to help you determine which group you are in and whether you are eligible.   Those without a computer or internet access can call 2-1-1 to register for a vaccine.

Click here to view a step-by-step video on how to register for a vaccine through the state’s Vaccine and Immunization Network Interface (VINI).

Members of all vaccine groups will register and schedule vaccine appointments through VINI.  

If you have any questions, call 2-1-1 to access the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 hotline.

Read more about the current situation in New Hampshire on our live blog.

Can I register with my spouse, partner or other family member?

No, anyone who signs up to receive a coronavirus vaccine in New Hampshire after April 19 must have an individual account and appointment. Prior to April 19, the state did allow people to register an eligible family member as a plus-one for their first vaccine appointment. People in that group, who registered and made appointments before April 19, will have their joint appointments honored for first and second doses as scheduled.

What if I registered, but I’m not sure if it worked?

If you registered to receive a coronavirus vaccine through www.vaccines.nh.gov and do not receive a confirmation email after 5 days, or any other official communication, the state encourages you to call 2-1-1 for assistance.

State Epidemiologists On New COVID-19 Variants, Vaccines In N.H., And Post-Shot Safety (March 24, 2021)

Where are vaccinations happening?

The state is currently administering vaccines at a limited number of locations around the state. These sites include:

  • Belmont: Belknap Mall, former Peebles building
  • Concord: Steeplegate Mall
  • Dover: C&J Bus Terminal
  • Hooksett: SNHU
  • Keene: Keene State College, 110 Krif Rd.
  • Lebanon: West Lebanon, former J.C. Penney
  • Nashua: Pheasant Lane Mall (Former Sears Building)
  • Newington: Mall at Fox Run, former Sears Building
  • Newport: Shaws Plaza, former Dollar Store
  • Plymouth: Plymouth Armory
  • Salem: Rockingham Mall, former Lord & Taylor building

After Memorial Day, the state’s fixed vaccination sites will be for second shots only, and appointments for first shots will shift towards the traditional healthcare system, such as pharmacies or primary care providers' offices.

The following hospitals are also running public vaccination sites:

  • Androscoggin Valley Hospital
  • Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital
  • Hampstead Hospital
  • Lakes Region General Hospital
  • Weeks Medical Center - Lancaster
  • Littleton Regional Healthcare
  • Memorial Hospital
  • Weeks Medical Center - Whitefield
  • Huggins Hospital

People aged 16-17 will be able to view in VINI which sites are distributing the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is the only vaccine approved for people under the age of 18. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present at the time of vaccination.

Vaccines are also being administered at a number of Walgreens locations around the state. Appointments at local Walgreens locations must be made through vaccines.nh.gov.

What documents do I need to bring to my vaccine appointment?

When you go to your vaccine appointment, you will need to bring along the following documents:

  • Your QR code from your appointment confirmation, either printed or on a mobile device. If you are unable to bring your QR code to your appointment, a clinic staff member can look it up for you.
  • Proof of identity (you will need to bring one of the following):
    • Valid, unexpired driver license or non-driver ID card 
    • Valid, unexpired passport

If you are 16 or 17 years old and do not have a valid driver license or non-driver ID card, you will need to bring a birth certificate or passport for proof of age, and a parent or legal guardian will need to bring one of the documents listed above with them for proof of identity.

If you do not have the required identification documents, you can call 211 before your appointment to request an identification waiver. You can also call your Regional Public Health Network to ask if their vaccination clinics require an ID card or passport for proof of identification.

Vaccination sites at Rite Aid locations do not require an ID.

What if I am homebound, due to a medical condition or lack of transportation?

The state is partnering with home care agencies, public health networks, and emergency responders in an effort to either coordinate transportation to clinics, or bring vaccinations into peoples’ homes. 

Home care agencies are reaching out to their clients to identify who may need assistance. In addition, anyone who is unable to travel to receive their shot can call 211, and will be directed through a self-screening process for homebound individuals who need to receive a vaccine.

The new coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. How will the state keep track of second doses?

When you receive your first dose of vaccine, you may be scheduled for your second dose appointment on site, or you will be directed to log back in to VINI to sign up for your second appointment date and time. 211 can also assist with scheduling second dose appointments.

You will receive a card at their first dose appointment with the date of you first shot and the name of which vaccine you received. VINI is also recording which version of the vaccine people received, to ensure the appropriate second dose is administered.

Doses of the Pfizer vaccine are administered at least 21 days apart, while Moderna’s version are administered at least 28 days apart.

What if my second appointment is more than 21 or 28 days after my first?

According to the CDC, second doses “should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible,” however “there is no maximum interval between the first and second dose.”

The CDC currently recommends the second dose of both versions be administered no later than 42 days (6 weeks) after the first, as there is “limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window.”

Does the state have a documentation process for people who have gotten the vaccine?

When you receive your first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, you will receive a card indicating the date you received your first shot and which vaccine you received (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson).  That information is also recorded on VINI for use by healthcare professionals.

Once you have been fully vaccinated, proof of vaccination can be accessed through your VINI account.

Is the vaccine safe?

The FDA found “no specific safety concerns” with Pfizer’s vaccine in people ages 16 and over, and an analysis found it to be 95 percent effective. The Moderna vaccine, found to be 94 to 95 percent effective in people 18 and over, was also given a favorable safety profile by the FDA.  Similarly, the FDA “did not identify specific safety concerns” with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Some vaccine breakthrough cases - cases in which someone who is fully vaccinated becomes sick - are expected, as no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness. You can learn more about COVID-19 breakthrough cases here.

Serious reactions were rare, but there are some minor side effects like redness at the injection site, fatigue and headaches.  People getting vaccinated generally wait at the site for 15 minutes or so to make sure there are no serious side effects. 

Hospitals, community groups and long-term care facilities say they’ve been holding Q&A sessions and kicking off educational campaigns to help build trust in the vaccine.

Is the vaccine immediately effective in people?

No, the vaccine does not provide immediate protection from COVID-19. According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose vaccine such as the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

The FDA reports that the Pfizer-made vaccine does begin to provide protection for some recipients about 10 days after the initial dose, but the second dose, delivered at least 21 days after the first dose, boosts immunity above 90 percent and is highly recommended.

Some vaccine breakthrough cases - cases in which someone who is fully vaccinated becomes sick - are expected, as no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness. You can learn more about COVID-19 breakthrough cases here.

Public health experts are still studying new COVID-19 variants that have recently been detected around the world and whether there are impacts on vaccine efficacy.  Early studies show that vaccines may be more effective against some variants than others. The CDC says that a COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K. is now the most common strain circulating in the country, and New Hampshire health officials say they are ramping up variant testing.

To view the data on COVID-19 variants in New Hampshire, click here.

How much can I change my behavior once I’m fully vaccinated?

Once you are fully vaccinated, the CDC says it is safe to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without a mask. The CDC also says it is safe to gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless one of those people or someone they live with is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection. Fully vaccinated people also do not need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings or venues.

If you are exposed to COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated, you do not need to isolate or get tested unless you have symptoms, with the exception of people who live in group settings.

The CDC says we are still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines work at preventing people from spreading the disease, and recommends that people who are fully vaccinated still take steps to protect themselves and others. This includes continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing when in indoor public settings, gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household, or visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection. 

The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated people do not need to seek a COVID-19 test before leaving the U.S. unless your destination requires it, and do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the U.S.

For more information about the coronavirus in New Hampshire, visit our COVID-19 FAQ.