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Frequently asked questions: Vaccination in the Upper Valley

  • FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 file photo, empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/24/2021 4:26:47 PM
Modified: 4/16/2021 1:03:38 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information in this FAQ is current as of April 16, 2021. Find additional information and updates under the “more resources” section at the end of this FAQ. Bookmark this page at www.vnews.com/vaccineFAQ.

WEST LEBANON — As COVID-19 vaccine distribution programs in the Twin States continue, many residents are wondering how, when and where to get their shots.

Vermont and New Hampshire have been vaccinating health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities and first responders since mid-December, and in late January they began vaccinating senior citizens. 

Both states opened vaccine registration portals to those who qualify, but it’s a new and evolving process for all involved. The Valley News compiled this guide based on information distributed by the Twin States’ health departments, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the White River Junction VA Medical Center.

Who is eligible and when?

As of April 2, residents 16 and older are eligible for vaccination in New Hampshire. College students from out-of-state, second homeowners and visitors to New Hampshire will become eligible on April 19.

In Vermont, residents 30 and older are eligible. Eligibility is slated to begin on April 17 at 10 a.m. for residents aged 16-18. Beginning on April 19 at 6 a.m., residents aged 19 – 29 also will qualify, so that all Vermonters 16 and older will be eligible.

Vermont began its rollout in late December by vaccinating health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities and emergency medical first responders. In addition, school staff, public safety employees and child care workers became eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations beginning on March 8. Vermonters 16 and over with high-risk conditions became eligible on March 11.

As of April 1, if anyone in a household identifies as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) all household members who are 16 years or older can sign up to get a vaccine.

Parents and primary caregivers of children with high-risk health conditions (see below) who are too young to get vaccinated are eligible to be vaccinated everywhere except Walgreens.

Vermonters can expect the process, from registration to when the vaccine is most effective, to take about two months.

Which medical conditions qualify me to get vaccinated earlier?

Vermont (for people 16 and older, one or more to qualify):

■current cancer

■chronic kidney disease

■COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis

■Down syndrome

■heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

■immunocompromised states

■severe obesity

■pregnancy

■sickle cell disease

■Type 2 diabetes mellitus

■Type 1 diabetes

■intellectual disabilities and disabilities that compromise lung function

How do I register to get vaccinated?

New Hampshire residents: People can register by visiting vaccines.nh.gov. Those without internet access can call 211 to register. Some people may register through their employer or through a vaccination clinic organized by a regional public health network.

To schedule a second dose, New Hampshire residents who received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 7 or later should expect to get an appointment card with a day and time for their second dose during their first shot.

Vermont residents: People can register online through the Vermont Department of Health, Kinney Drugs, CVS, Walgreens or Northfield Pharmacy via links at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine

If they are not able to register online or need assistance in a language other than English, they can call 855-722-7878.

Those who are eligible based on a health condition will be asked to self-certify that they have one of the high-risk conditions on the state’s list, as well as to provide the name of their health care provider to confirm their eligibility. But those without a doctor can still get vaccinated.

School staff and child care workers will receive a passcode from their school leaders or the Department of Children and Families that allows them to make an appointment at any site. 

Public safety employees, such as firefighters, emergency medical service providers, police officers and correctional officers, and health care workers can call the health department at 855-722-7878 to be screened for and to schedule an appointment, or make one directly at Kinney Drugs, CVS or Walgreens. 

The Windham County NAACP is hosting Black, Indigenous and people of color household focused clinics in Brattleboro, Bennington and Rutland and the Racial Justice Alliance and the Vermont Professionals of Color Network is hosting similar clinics in Burlington for eligible BIPOC members and their households who would prefer to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic that is dedicated to this community. People can register online at the groups’ websites or by contacting the Burlington Resource and Recovery Center at 802-755-7239 or Wichie Artu, vice president of the NAACP of Windham County, at vicepresident@windhamnaacp.org or 802-297-7832.

Vermont also is holding community-specific clinics for people who are English language learners or members of immigrant and refugee communities. Those 16 and older can register for these clinics if someone in their household is eligible. To register, people can call the Association of Africans Living in Vermont at 802-985-3106 or the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants of Vermont at 802-655-1963.

Once it’s my turn to get vaccinated, where can I expect that to happen?

In general, many residents of both Vermont and New Hampshire can expect to be vaccinated at state-run vaccination clinics or at a pharmacy.

In New Hampshire, the National Guard is currently staffing 11 fixed sites throughout the state, including the former JCPenney building in West Lebanon. Sullivan County residents can expect to be vaccinated at the former Dollar General in the Shaw’s Plaza in Newport, N.H.

Hospital sites are also running. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center began offering Saturday clinics for Granite Staters 16 and older on April 10 indoors in Auditoriums A-D. It also will be offering limited drive-thru appointments Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons in the Colburn Hill parking lot on Mt. Support Road. The state also offers vaccines through pharmacies, but people can get vaccinated only if they have registered.

Vermont is offering vaccines at clinics set up by the state for each phase of the distribution process. Kinney Drugs’ 20 Vermont locations, including in Bradford and Randolph, and 31 Walgreens locations, which doesn’t have any branches on the Vermont side of the Upper Valley, also are providing vaccines in Vermont, as is CVS and Northfield Pharmacy. Home health agencies and emergency services are distributing vaccines to homebound patients.

All 14 of the state’s hospitals, as well as Health Department district offices and three federally qualified health centers, including Bradford, Vt.-based Little Rivers Health Care, also are serving as distribution points. Walmart and National Guard-run sites opened in early March. 

What if I receive care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock?

Vermont residents, or any non-New Hampshire residents, are not eligible to use Granite State vaccination clinics unless they are employees of a business or organization in New Hampshire that is prioritized for vaccination. That will change on April 19, when out-of-staters become eligible.

For COVID-19 vaccination in Vermont, in-state residents need to provide their primary address to make an appointment. Non-Vermonters can still get the vaccine in Vermont if they work in Vermont or have moved to Vermont within the last six months with the intention of becoming a resident.

Out-of-state college students and second homeowners may become eligible for vaccination in Vermont on April 30 if vaccine supplies hold steady.

What if I get my care at the WRJ VA?

The White River Junction VA Medical Center is now vaccinating veterans of all ages, as well as spouses and caregivers. Veterans need to be enrolled in VA healthcare to qualify and can do so by calling 802-295-9363 ext. 4004 or 5118.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics are held every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the White River Junction VA. The Moderna vaccine is provided and second shots are required 28 days after the first. Appointments are required.

Those eligible to receive a vaccine can call 802-296-5151 to schedule a shot. More information about vaccination through the White River Junction VA is available online at https://www.whiteriver.va.gov/services/covid-19-vaccines.asp.

How many vaccines have been distributed?

As of April 16, Vermont had given out a total of 445,400 doses of vaccine, and 186,500 people had received all of the required shots for complete vaccination, according to the state’s dashboard. Among those who are fully vaccinated are 11,640 people in Windsor County and 5,771 people in Orange County, according to the CDC’s COVID data tracker.

New Hampshire, which has more than twice the population of Vermont, had given out more than 608,100 first doses and about 316,400 people were fully vaccinated as of April 15, according to the state’s dashboard. That includes 26,008 people in Grafton County and 9,881 people in Sullivan County, according to the CDC.

More resources

New Hampshire: General information is online at vaccines.nh.gov and by phone at 211 or 866-444-4211. Dartmouth-Hitchcock also has an information page at dartmouth-hitchcock.org/patient-education/covid-19-vaccine.html.

Vermont: General information is online at healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/about-covid-19-vaccines-vermont. Vermonters who cannot register online can call 855-722-7878.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.




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