NH College Towns Urge Governor Chris Sununu to Allow Student Vaccinations
Officials from eight New Hampshire communities home to colleges and universities have signed a joint letter urging the governor to reconsider his opposition to vaccinating non-resident college students for COVID-19.
In the letter, which went out this week, the eight municipal leaders offer to work with Governor Chris Sununu on a plan to vaccinate the nearly 20,000 students from other states who attend college in New Hampshire.
These students, the letter points out, live in close quarters with one another. They also interact with other residents in the communities in which they live.
“We believe, working together collectively and with your support, that we can do so in this case in a way that appropriately utilizes the state's vaccine supply to enhance the public health of our individual communities, our regions, and New Hampshire as a whole,”
the letter states.
Signatories include Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, both Democrats. But it also includes nonpartisan city and town administrators from Keene, Durham, Hanover, Plymouth, Henniker and New London.
Sununu has said college students should return home for vaccinations, citing the fact that some full-time residents are still waiting for vaccines. A spokesman for the governor told reporters this week residency guidelines could change if vaccine supplies increase.
Several neighboring states, including those with Democratic and Republican governors, have opted to open vaccines to college students regardless of their hometown.
In the letter, the town officials point out that students are counted as residents for census purposes, and that vaccines are awarded based on census data. They also note that some New Hampshire students are being vaccinated while attending college in other states.
“We are hopeful that coordination can continue on this issue so that we do not inadvertently create a patchwork of regulation that makes it unnecessarily difficult for our college student population to obtain a vaccine,” the letter said. “The logistics of students
leaving the state for vaccinations and returning to our communities creates the potential for increased spread of the virus among our citizens.”
Data compiled by the Washington Post shows that more than 204 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the country. Almost 17 percent of Americans are not fully vaccinated, and more than 30 percent have received at least one dose.
As of Friday afternoon, the Post reported, 37.5 percent of New Hampshire residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, one of the highest rates among any U.S. state or territory. Of that percentage, 17.3 percent of N.H. residents are fully vaccinated.
For more information on New Hampshire’s COVID-19 vaccination program,
to check eligibility or sign up for a vaccine appointment, visit https://www.vaccines.nh.gov.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.