CONCORD, N.H. — Registration for the next phase of New Hampshire’s coronavirus vaccination plan got off to a quick start Friday, with more than 70,000 people signing up in the first hour and more than 147,000 by late afternoon.
Registration opened at 8 a.m. 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 is via the vaccines.nh.gov website. Those who can’t schedule an appointment online can call the state’s 2-1-1 hotline. While state officials had expected callers to endure wait times of an hour or more, the day started with wait times of about 25 minutes and by noon, callers were waiting under five minutes.
“Today has been remarkably positive and demonstrates that the people of New Hampshire are ready and willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “This has truly been a statewide, all-hands-on-deck effort. We applaud the efforts of so many, including the National Guard, 2-1-1 call takers, health care providers and the residents who registered for making today go as smoothly as it has.”
Those who sign up online were told to expect an email about scheduling their appointments within three to five days, but many will receive the messages earlier than that, according to the department.
The first appointments will be scheduled for Tuesday. Scheduling will be handled on a first come, first served basis, so registrants should monitor their email and click on the link as soon as they receive the email. Appointments will be scheduled out as far as necessary, and everyone who registers during this phase will be able to schedule an appointment, a department spokesperson said.
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. 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 the vaccine supply to increase soon.