The Bulletin Board

Nashua overlooked in ‘Booster Blitz’ campaign, state lawmakers say

By: - December 1, 2021 3:15 pm
A vial of covid vaccine

About 18 million young children could soon become eligible for the vaccine for the first time since the pandemic began two years ago.  (Getty Images)

Nashua lawmakers are raising concerns that the state’s “Booster Blitz” overlooked New Hampshire’s second largest and most diverse city, even as the city has one of the highest COVID-19 positivity and community transmission rates in the state. The governor’s office said on Wednesday a nearby location was chosen instead to avoid confusion with a pre-existing clinic in Nashua.

The Booster Blitz website – which opened for registration on Wednesday morning – includes 14 public locations where Granite Staters can receive a booster shot on Dec. 11. During a weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Sununu acknowledged that scheduling vaccines, booster shots, and tests has been challenging for many people.  

The sites include locations across the state: Berlin, Haverhill, Plymouth, Stratham, Keene, Claremont, North Conway, Laconia, Manchester, Milford, Concord, Hanover, Rochester, and Salem.

But Nashua, home to more than 91,000 people, isn’t among them. And 30 percent of those residents belong to racially diverse communities, making Nashua one of the most diverse parts of the state. Fourteen percent of Nashua residents are Hispanic, around 2.5 percent are Black, around 8 percent are Asian, and around 4 percent are multiracial. 

The fact that a Nashua site wasn’t included in the Booster Blitz is worrisome when it comes to diverse residents – who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – accessing a booster, said Rep. Manny Espitia, a Nashua Democrat.

Sen. Cindy Rosenwald also questioned the decision after the sites were announced on Tuesday.

“Why is Nashua being left out?” Rosenwald said in a tweet.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office, Brandon Pratt, said the decision was made to avoid confusion or disruption to a clinic that the City of Nashua had already scheduled on Dec. 11 to administer primary doses and boosters. Residents could sign up for that clinic through the city’s regular platform, Pratt said. 

Working with our Public Health Network, the next nearest and available location was selected, so as not to cause confusion or disruption to the city’s already scheduled clinic,” Pratt said in an email. The state’s mobile vaccine van is scheduled to be in Nashua on Dec. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m., offering first doses, second doses, and boosters.

Rep. Laura Telerski, a Nashua Democrat, called the decision to exclude Nashua disappointing. She said local appointments have been scheduling two weeks out.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.