Teacher vaccinations start next week in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Vaccinations will begin late next week for New Hampshire teachers and other school staff, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

Phase 2a of the state’s vaccination plan includes roughly 50,000 teachers, other school employees and child care workers, while phase 2b includes anyone age 50 and older. The plan always has called for completing those phases between March and May, though meeting that target initially appeared unlikely given the limited supply of vaccine available.

But with the addition of a third vaccine and increased distribution, regional public health networks will begin overseeing clinics for school districts around the state March 12. On March 17, teachers and others in group 2a will be able to schedule appointments at existing public sites. And on March 22, those in group 2b can start scheduling their shots.

“It’s not linear,” Sununu said. “One doesn’t close and one opens. They all kind of mesh into one another because we’re simply going so fast.”

Sununu, a Republican, has faced criticism for not including teachers in the first wave of vaccinations, which included health care workers, nursing home residents, people age 65 and older and those with multiple medical conditions. The Biden administration has urged states to ensure teachers get at least their first doses by the end of March, but Sununu said that didn’t influence the timeline outlined Thursday.

“They were next in line, so we’re just going right to it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state has scheduled 12,000 appointments for a mass vaccination clinic being held this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Those appointments mostly went to people in phase 1 whose initial appointments had been scheduled as late as April.

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