New Hampshire will soon loosen its residency restriction for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility even further, allowing Massachusetts residents to cross state lines for an appointment.
Gov. Chris Sununu says starting April 19, non-residents, no matter where they live, can register for a COVID-19 vaccine in New Hampshire. They’ll have to sign up, like everyone else, through the state-run vaccination site, vaccines.nh.gov.
“Whether you live in Boston, Maine, Vermont, New York, doesn’t matter, come on in, get your vaccine. We’re open for business,” Sununu said at a press conference Thursday in Concord.
Last Friday, the state opened up vaccine eligibility to all New Hampshire residents 16 and older, but, at the time, did not include people like out-of-state college students or second-home owners.
Sununu said Thursday the increased availability of COVID vaccines led him to reverse course.
After the state opened eligibility to residents 16 and older, over 100,000 people have registered for the vaccine. The state says new registrations are coming in at an average of 5,000 to 6,000 per day.
Sununu said the number of Granite Staters signing up for vaccines is now slowing down, and there are over 200,000 appointments available between now and Memorial Day.
So far, around 60% of eligible residents have either already been vaccinated or have an appointment booked, according to state health officials.
As vaccinations increase, Sununu has been pushing for other aspects of life in New Hampshire to return to some version of normal. Last week, he announced that all schools in the state must return to full in-class instruction by April 19.
A number of schools are pushing back and asking for an extension, but Sununu has remained firm on his mandate.
“Most schools in the state have been up and running without being fully vaccinated or even vaccinated at all,” Sununu said Thursday.
If a school continues to not offer the full in-person learning past the April 19 deadline, Sununu said those days would not count toward state-mandated instructional hours, and that time may need to be made up by schools later in the year.
Sununu said the state is not “allowing hybrid and remote learning anymore unless it's requested by the individual, the student themselves.”
Even as vaccination becomes widespread, new COVID cases continue on an upward trend across New Hampshire.
State health officials announced 515 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. That's the highest one-day number of new cases in more than two months.
The number of hospitalizations in the state due to COVID-19 topped 100, continuing a steady, daily increase in that number.
Officials reported one new death from COVID-19.
This story is a production of New England News Collaborative. It was originally published by New Hampshire Public Radio on April 8, 2021.