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State changes course, now says non-New Hampshire residents who own property here can’t get vaccines

  • FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2005, file photo, a group of snowmobilers start their travels on Bear Notch Road in Bartlett, N.H. The U.S. Forest Service issued a new policy requiring forest managers to limit where snowmobiles can go by specifically designating what areas are open. The new rules, published in the Federal Register on Jan. 27, 2015, applies to all national forests in the U.S. (AP Photo/The Conway Daily Sun, Jamie Gemmiti, File) Jamie Gemmiti

Published: 1/26/2021 11:20:51 AM

The State of New Hampshire is no longer allowing nonresidents who own property in the state to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.

A state website that offers answers to frequently asked questions related to the vaccine had indicated that anyone who owns land in New Hampshire, which includes second homeowners or out-of-state landlords who reside elsewhere, need only provide proof of property ownership to get vaccinated in New Hampshire, despite the lack of doses currently available for full-time residents.

Jake Leon, spokesperson for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, said Sunday that the policy is not new, and that “the intent of the vaccination plan is to make it as easily and efficiently as possible for people in NH to get vaccinated, not to throw up barriers.”

On Monday, the state guidance on that question abruptly changed. 

The question now reads, “I am not a N.H. resident but I own property in N.H., am I eligible to receive the vaccine in New Hampshire?”

The answer: “No, you are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine in New Hampshire.”

Individuals must have a valid New Hampshire driver’s license or a copy of a document like a payroll check that proves residency here.

Previously, nonresidents could show a property tax bill, recent mortgage statement, utility bill, or other documentation to prove property ownership in order to receive the vaccine.

It isn’t clear how many nonresidents may travel to New Hampshire to obtain a vaccination. The state says the number wouldn’t impact the estimate of 300,000 people now eligible for vaccines during Phase 1B, which includes those aged 65 and up, and those younger than 65 with two or more serious medical conditions.

Before it was changed, New Hampshire’s policy for nonresidents differed from guidelines released by neighboring states. Vermont is administering vaccinations only to residents, or those who work in Vermont, according to a state website. Maine is also currently allowing only residents to obtain vaccines, citing an “extremely limited supply.”

Florida has reportedly seen a wave of “vaccine tourism” after officials there made the initial decision to allow nonresidents to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. The move prompted criticism from local residents and backlash against some international travelers who obtained first doses while visiting the state. In recent days, the state modified its policy to include only residents and seasonal residents, defined as someone who stays in Florida for at least 31 consecutive days.

New Hampshire is receiving approximately 17,500 vaccine doses each week from federal suppliers. Appointments for those in Phase 1B are already booked through the end of March at some locations, according to the state health department.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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