NH Vaccine Phases

Great news! COVID-19 vaccines have started to arrive in NH. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel! The first available vaccine is from Pfizer, which requires two doses, one to start, with a booster three weeks later. The Moderna vaccine is arriving in NH soon once they pass FDA/CDC scrutiny. Click here for COVID-19 vaccinination details from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Click here for detailed estimated vaccination timeline for NH residents (Jan 5, 2020).

We have been working on a vaccination plan for the MDS community over the past month, coordinating with NH Public Health and DHHS, and we are ready to put that into place as soon as we can. You’ll hear more about that soon as things develop.

NH DHHS has provided a detailed COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ which will be updated regularly – you can find it here. Here are answers to a few other questions you might have for us:

Who will get the vaccine?
Hospital workers are already getting vaccinated, and skilled nursing facility staff/residents are next in line to receive vaccinations, probably starting next week, and then followed by first responders. We’re not yet sure exactly when the Disability Services community’s turn will come, but we will let you know as soon as we know. We’re hoping for early January for the staff who work with the most vulnerable individuals.

Who in our MDS community will get the vaccine first?
The first people in our system to receive the vaccine will be direct care staff and program managers who work with multiple individuals or with individuals who live in congregate settings such as a staffed residence, along with individuals because of their high risk for complications. Ultimately, as more supplies become available in spring and summer, everyone will have the opportunity to be vaccinated. As we learn more, we will keep you informed about how vaccines will be accessed. Some will be through pharmacies, others could be through primary care physicians. This piece of the logistics is still being determined.

Are we required to get the vaccination?
We will not require anyone, however we STRONGLY encourage everyone who is offered the vaccine to take it, even if they themselves have had COVID. The vaccines have been subjected to the same rigorous studies and regulatory review process as other vaccines to ensure these vaccines are both safe and effective. The side effects are minimal, and the long-term effects are essential to getting this virus under control and saving lives. Click here for an informational scientific overview of how the COVID-19 vaccines work.

What is the cost to get the vaccine?
We've been told there will be no cost to you – if you have insurance, it will cover the cost; if you don’t, it is supposed to be covered by vaccine providers and the CARES Act. We're checking into this and will keep you updated.

Do we still have to wear masks, wash hands, and watch our distance once we’ve been vaccinated?
YES!! For the next several months, everyone will need to continue to be vigilant. The CDC, DHHS, and public health officials continue to remind everyone that mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing will be critical even after being vaccinated, until a larger portion of the population has received the vaccine. It takes time for our systems to absorb the immunity, and it’s not clear at what point those vaccinated are no longer carriers.

Feeling stressed and anxious with COVID and the holidays?
We’re all feeling the effects of this unusual year, so please be sure to make time for yourself or a loved one you know who might be suffering. We encourage you to reach out to get help. If you don’t have a local resource, here are two helplines that are free and confidential.

NH NAMI: 800-242-6264 (press 4)
Project Connect Disability Support: 888-847-3209