The Bulletin Board

Sununu, Shibinette seek approval of new spending plan for vaccination program

By: - October 21, 2021 5:21 pm
Gov. Sununu at a podium

Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement supporting the attorney general’s decision to join the lawsuit.(Courtesy)

Gov. Chris Sununu and Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette confirmed they have asked the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee to approve a new spending plan for the state’s vaccination program at its meeting Friday. 

In a letter Sununu’s office released Thursday afternoon, the two told committee members the Executive Council’s recent rejection of $27 million in federal vaccine funding is hampering the state’s efforts to respond to the pandemic at a time when Granite Staters need booster shots and 125,000 children are expected to become eligible for the vaccine.

In addition to their request to use $4.7 million in alternative federal funding, they warned committee members they’ll need an additional $7.1 million before the end of the year. “Without these funds, state-run vaccine operations will come to a halt, leaving Granite Staters to rely on federal vaccination efforts,” the letter said.

The release of the letter follows Shibinette’s request Wednesday to withdraw the $27 million in federal contracts, which require approval from both the council and fiscal committee, from Friday’s agenda. 

The department had planned to use part of the $27 million to invest in the state’s vaccine data system, which the state uses to collect aggregated data on the vaccination rate and who has received a booster shot. Without that state-level data, the letter said, the state will have a more limited understanding of vaccine breakthrough cases. Some of that money would have also covered basic costs for distributing vaccines, such as shipping containers, postage, dry ice, and monitoring clinics. 

The anti-vaccine and anti-mandate protesters who led the campaign to defeat the $27 million in federal contracts have urged followers to put as much effort into defeating this new request.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.