The Politics of COVID-19 Vaccinations in NH
Legislative Republicans have made it clear that a door-to-door effort to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations is not welcome in New Hampshire over privacy concerns, but the top Democrat in the House says they're playing politics.
As vaccination rates level off, President Joe Biden said government representatives need to go "door to door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus."
Republicans from around the country have denounced the plan as being intrusive, including New Hampshire legislative leaders.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, District 22, said on his Facebook page that while he is supportive of those who want to be vaccinated, a door-to-door approach is an invasion of privacy.
"We all have a right to keep our medical histories private and this feels like an intimidation tactic that the government should not be getting involved in," Morse said.
His comments were echoed by House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Manchester, Rockingham 5, on his Twitter account who said that the idea of going door-to-door "is not something we would ever consider or welcome here."
And House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, R-Auburn, Rockingham 4, told WMUR TV that a door-to-door campaign targeting those unvaccinated for COVID-19 is evidence of what he calls a trampling of liberties by the Biden Administration.
House Democratic leader Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, Rockingham 21, who lost his mother to COVID-19, calls the Republican comments an effort "to the detriment of public health."
Noting that state public health officials are already going to residences to provide transportation and information about the COVID-19 vaccine, Cushing accused Republican leadership of spreading fear and misinformation. He also tied their comments to the recent state budget abortion clause.
It is "particularly brazen weeks after passing a state budget requiring an invasive vaginal ultrasound for seeking abortion care," Cushing wrote.
Cushing was joined in his criticism by state Democratic chair Raymond Buckley who called the GOP comments "sickening."
"Shameful display of immature games played by the reckless Republicans in NH. They would rather let people die than do the right thing. Not a single responsible one left in the Trump party," Buckley wrote on his Twitter account.
Gov. Chris Sununu told WMUR that New Hampshire will not participate in the program if asked and would continue to make sure the vaccination was readily available for those who want it.
The state COVID-19 dashboard showed that as of Sunday, 55.1% of the population is fully vaccinated.