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The Dartmouth
February 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

New Hampshire to expand vaccine eligibility to residents 16 and older, out-of-state college students excluded

A spokesperson for the governor provided additional details on how students can prove residency.

vaccines-jcpenney-elegibility-expansion-new-hampshire-west-lebanon

The nearest state-run vaccination site to Dartmouth is inside a former J.C. Penney in West Lebanon. 

Updated March 26, 2021 at 12:52 p.m.

All New Hampshire residents over 16 years old will be eligible to register for a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 2, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced at a press conference Thursday. Registration for vaccines will be split up by age, with people between 40 and 49 years old eligible to register on March 29, those between 30 and 39 years old eligible to register on March 31, and the remainder eligible on April 2.

However, college students from out of state are not eligible to receive vaccines, Sununu, a Republican, said at the press conference. 

“If you’re a resident of Colorado, but you’re going to school here, no, you cannot get the vaccine,” Sununu said. “You can go to Colorado and get the vaccine for Colorado residents, but will not qualify for the vaccine here. This is for permanent New Hampshire residents.”

The governor added that because many students may not get their second shots until May or June, it “doesn’t make much sense” to offer vaccinations to out-of-state college students who would leave for summer break before getting their second shots.

“It just makes more sense for them to go back to their state, be part of their system and get the vaccine while they’re home,” Sununu said.

While residency is a prerequisite for vaccination in roughly half of all states, the New York Times reported last week, Colorado does not require proof of “full-time” residency for vaccinations according to the state’s guidelines. 

In an email statement Friday morning, deputy communications director for the governor Brandon Pratt confirmed that vaccines will only be available to residents, but added that eligibility may open up further if vaccine supply increases. 

“With the limited supply from the federal government, everyone must play by the same rules,” Pratt wrote.

In order to prove residency, New Hampshire residents must bring a driver’s license, payroll from within the last 60 days showing a legal New Hampshire address or a government issued payment dated within the last 60 days to their vaccine appointment, according to Pratt. 

The restrictions Pratt laid out are stricter than those required to register to vote or to obtain a driver’s license in New Hampshire, which also allow someone to present documents such as utility bills, lease agreements, car registrations and title applications. 

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email Friday morning that the College is waiting to receive written guidelines from the state regarding residency requirements and emphasized that Dartmouth does not control vaccine distribution.

"We continue to be in conversations with the state in our efforts to help facilitate vaccination for as many members of our campus as possible," Lawrence wrote.

New Hampshire is currently in Phase 2 of its vaccination program, which allows staff of K-12 schools, licensed child care facilities and licensed youth camps and people between 50 and 64 years old to register for vaccines. On March 19, Dartmouth announced a partnership with the state of New Hampshire to help facilitate the scheduling of COVID-19 vaccinations for some College employees and students.

In an email to campus Friday afternoon, Dartmouth COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston wrote that the College was “exploring whether this partnership can be extended to permit Dartmouth to help schedule appointments for the next phase” but encouraged faculty, staff and students who have not yet been vaccinated to “pursue any other options available to them to obtain a vaccine.”

New Hampshire’s accelerated vaccine rollout, which comes after President Joe Biden’s call to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1, deviates from the state’s original vaccine rollout plan. Under the state’s earlier timeline, those under the age of 50 would not have had access to the vaccine until May at the earliest.

In the Upper Valley, the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley has launched an equity vaccination initiative that allows New Hampshire residents over 18 years old who identify as Black, Indigenous or as a person of color to receive COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday afternoon. The vaccination clinic in Lebanon requires registration by Friday morning. Public Health Council of the Upper Valley executive director Alice Ely declined to comment. 

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.