By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
After a report in Bloomberg News showed Vermont and Maine ahead of New Hampshire in the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Chris Sununu said the state is vaccinating at a higher rate per 100,000 residents than 34 other states.
According to the Bloomberg report cited in a news release issued by the New Hampshire Democratic Party Monday, Vermont’s vaccination rate is 2.48% and Maine’s is 2.45%, while New Hampshire’s is only 1.43%.
“New Hampshire is also behind in its vaccination efforts for long-term care facilities. While West Virginia became the first state in the country to finish its first round of vaccinations at all of its long-term care facilities, on the same day, New Hampshire had only administered one-fifth of its available vaccines to long-term care facilities,” the press release stated.
Sununu told WMUR Monday that the vaccination rollout to long-term care facilities being conducted by CVS and Walgreens through a federal program has been “bumpy,” but said the state is staying on top of the situation with the pharmacies, although state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, said it was her understanding that the state has not asked the pharmacies where the program stands.
“Governor Sununu is wasting precious time to get this life-saving vaccine to those who need it most in our state,” Rosenwald said.
“Other states have been able to quickly and effectively distribute the vaccine, and it is unacceptable that the governor is letting New Hampshire fall behind,” Rosenwald said. “I urge the governor to act quickly to ensure those who need the vaccine can receive it in the coming weeks.”
In an email to InDepthNH.org Sununu’s spokesman Ben Vihstadt said: “It is unfortunate that the Democrats are spending their time attacking the men and women working around the clock to deliver this vaccine instead of trying to help.” He said all long-term care facilities in the state entered into a federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS through the Pharmacy Partnership Program – which the state does not control.
“The state received assurances that the pharmacies will continue to meet their commitments to long-term care facilities. Regardless, Governor Sununu and the Department of Health and Human Services are engaging in an all-hands-on-deck-effort to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible,” Vihstadt said.