New Hampshire prepares for vaccine registration crush

Associated Press
Published: 1/21/2021 10:11:44 PM
Modified: 1/22/2021 9:46:00 AM

CONCORD — Volunteer call center operators were being trained Thursday to take tens of thousands of calls from New Hampshire residents eager to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, while a registration website stood ready to handle 100,000 visitors at once.

Registration will open at 8 a.m. Friday for the approximately 325,000 people in Phase 1b of the state’s vaccination plan. That includes anyone age 65 or older, people with at least two qualifying medical conditions, corrections workers, and staff and residents of residential facilities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The easiest way to register will be via the vaccines.nh.gov website. Those who can’t schedule an appointment online can call the state’s 211 hotline. More than 300 state employees have volunteered to staff the phones, but wait times of an hour or more are possible, Gov. Chris Sununu said.

“We need people to be patient. We’ll be expecting unprecedented call volume ... but rest assured, every call will be answered by a live person,” he said. “The system is set up, and it’s going to work.”

The first appointments will be scheduled for Tuesday. What happens after that remains in flux, depending on how much vaccine the state receives every week and how many people want to sign up. The state has been getting about 17,000 doses per week, and at that rate, vaccinating the entire Phase 1b group would take until late May. The state’s current plan calls for starting the next phase in March, however, and state officials expect shipments to increase soon.

“One of the questions we still don’t know is, ‘What will the uptake of Phase 1b be?’ ” Sununu said. “So we’re not going to make any changes for a couple of weeks until we see what the requests are and the demands on the system. If folks are booking past the April time frame for their first shot, we’ll make that adjustment.”

Information coming on Vt. vaccinations

Vermont officials are expected to release more information Friday about how people age 75 can get vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19.

On Monday, the state will begin taking reservations for that age group.

During the state’s twice-weekly virus briefing on Friday, state officials are expected to announce details of how people can make those appointments.

The next age group will be 70 and up, followed by 65 and older.

After older Vermonters are vaccinated, the focus will shift to people between 18 and 64 who have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to complications from the virus.

Correction

This story has been updated with  the correct URL for the New Hampshire vaccine website, vaccines.nh.gov.




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