New Hampshire Phase 1B Vaccine Registrations Open with Some Bumps
January 24, 2021
NORTH CONWAY, NH — New Hampshire residents in phase 1b began registering for COVID-19 vaccinations last Friday morning. While some residents were able to navigate through the process, it did pose a challenge for others. It also raised some questions.
Officials at Memorial Hospital spent time over the weekend fielding calls from residents about access to the vaccines and the vaccine clinic. They also sought to clarify some of the instructions from the state on how to register for the vaccine and on the local availability of the vaccine.
A state-run website and 211 call center opened Friday morning to register eligible individuals and provide instructions on how to set up appointments. According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, about half of the estimated 300,000 residents who are part of Phase 1B registered by the end of Friday. Many also received their follow-up emails and were able to schedule appointments at one of the states ‘fixed sites,’ such as the National Guard site in Tamworth, or at an ‘open’ clinic such as Memorial Hospital or Huggins Hospital.
Memorial plans to begin vaccinating eligible members of the public this Thursday, January 28, at their vaccine clinic set up at the former Mt. Washington Observatory Discover Center in North Conway.
“We’ve heard from many residents asking why we only have vaccine appointments on Thursday afternoon and Friday,” said Will Owen RN, Manager of Clinical Education and Emergency Management. “Our current weekly vaccine allocation is 210 doses per week. One-and-a-half days is all it will take to administer this amount of vaccine.”
Memorial has established an efficient way to utilize vaccine staff, many of whom are being redeployed from other clinical areas at the hospital.
Eligible residents unable to find an open appointment at Memorial have been able to find appointments elsewhere in the state, sometimes as late as April or May.
Owen explained that vaccine supply remains an issue but it was important for the state to begin registering eligible residents for the vaccine. “We’ve been told that the state plans to offer earlier appointments if the CDC allocation of vaccines to New Hampshire increases.”
Instructions on how to reschedule to an earlier time slot will be announced when information becomes available.
The 211 call center, Owen believes, “is a good alternative for eligible residents without access to a computer”.
However, we realized this weekend that the call center currently only has the ability to schedule appointments at one of the state’s ‘fixed’ sites, not at Memorial. As a result, Memorial is working with the state to give the call center the ability to schedule appointments at Memorial’s vaccine clinic.
New Hampshire's phase 1b includes:
- Residents over the age of 65
- Residents younger than 65 with at least two verified risk factors
- Residents and staff at institutions for individuals with developmental disabilities
- Staff at correctional institutions
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Memorial Hospital is also home to The Merriman House nursing home, which provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. For more information, www.memorialhospitalnh.org or call 603-356-5461.