Vt., NH take different approaches to vaccine distribution

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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WEST LEBANON, NH (WCAX) - Friday marked the end of a big week for vaccinations in New Hampshire. Now, anyone 16 and up in the Granite State can get a shot.

“I stayed up very late and went online to get an appointment as soon as possible,” said Benjamin Kramer, 30 of Manchester, who was grabbing lunch on Friday in Lebanon with David Jaffe.

“You follow the medical science and you follow through,” said Jaffe, a school counselor. He got the vaccine a couple of weeks back, but now everyone in the Granite State, 16 and up, can as well.

Governor Chris Sununu accelerated eligibility this week after the state rolled out a new registration website. National Guard soldiers are helping to administer the shots at sites around the state. Vermont, on the other hand, is currently only registering people who are 50 and older.

“We have seen that in several different states where the approach has been different,” said Dr. Jose Mercado, an epidemiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He says there are a variety of factors that go into vaccine distribution, including having enough people dole them out. He also says reaching herd immunity depends on several factors. Vaccine acceptance is a big one, especially among the younger age group now eligible in New Hampshire. “Again, this is the age group that may be feeling less vulnerable and may be hesitating.”

When it comes to the total amount of vaccine distributed per capita so far, New Hampshire and Vermont are very similar. Both states have fully vaccinated roughly one-fifth of their overall populations. This means there is still a long way to go.

“This is the marathon, this is the ultra-marathon,” Jaffe said.

“We are not going to go back to normal, but we are going to have some semblance of our lives back,” Kramer said.

Governor Sununu has said he wants everyone in the Granite State to have at least one shot in the arm by Memorial Day. The 16 and older crowd in Vermont can register for the vaccine April 19th.

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