More New Hampshire residents will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday as Gov. Chris Sununu's latest executive order requiring mask use expires on Friday

Any individual between age 50 and 64 will be able to make appointments for vaccinations starting at 8 a.m. on the state's appointment website at vaccines.nh.gov. The shots will be administered starting on Thursday. As of Saturday 165,578 residents, or 12.2% of the population are fully vaccinated. 328,558 have received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderan vaccine which requires two doses.

Sununu at his coronavirus briefing on Thursday said it's just a "matter of weeks" before any resident over the age of 16 can be vaccinated.

"We just want to make sure that the system can handle it, any adjustments to the system that might have to be made, and make sure that those 50-and-up, they are still of higher risk than everybody else. And so, we want to make sure, sticking to our
protocols and our strategy of administering the vaccine based on health risk
but based upon recent comments and federal guidance it appears likely it will be extended," Sununu said at Thursday's briefing.

The governor on January 15 extended the mandate for masks or face coverings "anytime they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they are unable to or do not consistently maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from persons outside their own households."

All Maine residents age 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccination starting Tuesday, according to Gov. Janet Mills.  Beginning Monday, April 19 all Maine residents age 16 and older will eligible for vaccination.

In Massachusetts all residents age 65 and older, health care workers, first responders, educators and school staff, people with certain medical conditions and long term care residents and staff are among those eligible for the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Sununu's executive order he extended in January requiring face masks to be worn indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible expires on Friday. I

At his coronavirus briefing of March 11 Sununu he was keeping the mandate in place for now.

"And it is important to note that we are still keeping the mask mandate at this time. It has proven to be effective. Masks work. Social distancing works," Sununu said. However, he did not extend the order past March 26.

A message for the Governor's Office was not immediately returned on Sunday morning.

Six states have lifted their mandates: Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Alabama's will expire in April. However, President Joe Biden has recommended that all Americans wear a mask ""until everyone is, in fact, vaccinated."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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.