CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — All New Hampshire adults will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in a matter of weeks, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.
“We don’t have a firm date on that but it really is just weeks away that any adult citizen in the state of New Hampshire will be able to go to VINI and sign up for their vaccine,” he said. “Things are very progressing very, very quickly here in the state.”
The state started vaccinations with health care workers and other groups, followed by those ages 65 and up and those with multiple medical conditions. Eligibility expanded last week to include school and child care workers, and anyone age 50 years and older can start signing up Monday.
A new registration system went online Wednesday, and more than 10,000 people signed up in the first 24 hours, Sununu said.
The state hasn’t figured out whether New Hampshire college students from other states will be eligible to get vaccinated here, Sununu said. Residency for voting purposes has been a contentious issue in recent years, with Republicans pushing to prevent out-of-state students from voting, but vaccination remains an open question.
Sununu said officials are still deciding how handle college students, part-time residents and those who may have gotten their first shots in other states but want to get their second in New Hampshire.
"All of that, we’ll really look at in the next couple of weeks and make sure we define it really clearly,” he said.
In other coronavirus developments:
New Hampshire will get about 20% more money in the latest virus relief package from Washington than it did in the previous round, Sununu said.
The total includes $966 million headed to the state, $457 million for counties and municipalities, $122 million for critical capital projects, $350 million for schools and $100 million for virus testing and vaccine administration, he said.
“I’ve been working with legislative leadership to unpack this, and understand how this money could be spent,” he said. “We all agree, this is a huge opportunity for good, one-time investments that can help decrease costs and property taxes for our citizens.”
Democrats were quick to criticize Sununu for touting federal funding he has said he would’ve voted against. But he said his objection was based on money unrelated to the virus that ended up in the bill.
“My ask of the Senate and Congress, our representatives in Washington, was to fix it. The spending allocation was unfair,” he said. “There’s a lot of spending in there that has nothing to do with COVID, and I just think that should’ve been taken up separately.”
A group of U.S. senators, including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire, is urging President Joe Biden to rescind the Trump administration's ban on seasonal, employer-sponsored and cultural exchange visas.
The processing of non-immigrant visas was halted in June and is expected to expire on March 31, but businesses that rely on the temporary workers, especially during the summer, have struggled to fill jobs, Shaheen said in a letter to Biden dated Wednesday.
The ban “continues to harm a wide cross-section of families, businesses, and communities across the country," said the letter, also signed by Democrats Cory Booker and Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Angus King of Maine, an independent.
The Trump administration had cast the effort as a way to free up jobs in an economy reeling from the coronavirus. It applies to H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology company workers and their families, H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.
This story has been corrected to show that Sen. Maggie Hassan did not sign the letter.
Associated Press Writer Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.