COVID Vaccine Midweek Update
All of the information in today’s update comes from the Governor’s press conference today. Occasionally in the past, the press conferences have gotten out in front of the folks on the ground who have to administer the programs. If that happens this time, please let me know, so I can pass the word, but kindly refrain from yelling at the messenger. I took a lot of flak back when the Governor announced that primary care providers would sign up medically fragile persons in Phase 1-b for their shots and it turned out that local providers had not heard about that program yet.
All three vaccines have proved extremely effective at preventing hospitalization or death; you are not given a choice of which vaccine you will get.
With the approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, and the contract for Merck to also manufacture the J & J vaccine under the Defense Production Act, vaccine administration is ramping up to the next level in NH. According to the Governor’s press conference today, we got 42,000 doses of vaccine into the state this week, with more doses coming in through a federal program distributed in NH by the Walgreen’s chain.
Phase 1-b: The Governor said that everyone in Phase 1-b (that’s the 65+ group) who wanted to get their date moved up from April to March has been moved up, so if you are still scheduled for April and want an earlier slot, call 211 and they can reschedule you.
Homebound folks: Starting tomorrow, if you are homebound, you can sign up to get a shot administered at home, even if you are not signed up with a home health agency. If you are a patient of a home health agency, and have not yet been contacted by them about your vaccine, call them to find out your options. If you are not signed up with a home health agency, you can still get transport to a vaccine center, or can get a vaccine at home. Call 211 to make those arrangements. As always, expect to be on hold for some time when you call 211. Have a book or a crossword or some other occupation available to help you pass the time while you are on hold. Also, know that it will take some time to get to everyone who is homebound, so if you can manage to be transported to a vaccine site, you will probably get the vaccine significantly sooner than waiting for it at home.
Phase 2-A Teachers, School Administration and Staff, and Child Care Workers: Having said very recently he will not move educators up on the list, the Governor now says that it is time for workers in this category to get into the mix. Many educators will be vaccinated on-site by arrangements set up by their employers. If your employer is not setting up arrangements for you to be vaccinated, you may register for vaccination starting on March 17th, with appointments starting on March 22nd. The sign up is supposed to be via the new state registration system, referred to as VMS, as opposed to the problem-plagued VAMS. No word yet how to connect to VMS, but let us hope the information will be up on the NH COVID web site, found here: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/ . That is where you go now to start the registration process.
Two more new cases in Walpole today; three so far this week. Today, Cheshire County has the second highest 7 day average rate of infection per 100,000 in the state, at 24.2. Only Grafton, at 28.3, is higher. Sullivan County, right next door, is the lowest in NH at 9.9. Hillsborough, usually at the top of the list, is at 17.8. Windham County VT, just across the river, is at 8.1. We have work to do.
Wear your mask, even while distancing. Keep your distance, even while wearing a mask. Wash your hands. And keep well.
~Representative Lucy Weber