PORTSMOUTH, N.H. —
Granite Staters getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can no longer go to the fixed state sites as inoculations shift to doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
Health officials say the emphasis is now on providers helping patients who might be hesitant to get vaccinated. But where they’ll get the vaccine is determined by who is able to store it.
State-run sites will only be providing second doses through the end of June as vaccine distribution moves to the private sector.
“That will include physician offices, primary care practices, urgent care settings, community health centers,” said Jim Potter, CEO and executive vice president of the New Hampshire Medical Society. “Pharmacies will continue, as well.”
“We have patients that ask us every day, ‘Will you please let us know as soon as you have the vaccine available?'” said Dr. Daniel Waszkowski, of Derry Medical Center.
Derry Medical Center and its four sites received final approval Tuesday from the state, after training staff on storing and administering each of the three COVID-19 vaccines.
“Probably somewhere between three and five hours of additional education over the past two weeks, and we’ve taken on the responsibility also of purchasing a cold storage freezer,” Waszkowski said.
Providers affiliated with Catholic Medical Center will direct patients to a once-weekly drive-thru clinic.
“We’re using our call center to proactively reach out to our primary care patients to see if they have or have not been vaccinated, and if not, how can we get them into one of our clinics,” said Tim Soucy, director of community health for Catholic Medical Center.
Some providers, such as those affiliated with Portsmouth Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital and Parkland Medical Center will rely on pharmacies.
“Our job is really to answer questions for our patients, make sure they feel comfortable with it, understand the benefits of it because it really is a gamechanger,” said Dr. Travis Harker, chief medical officer for Appledore Medical Group.
Providers that administer vaccines need to know how to store them and also how to report vaccinations. The state’s vaccine registry, or Immunization Information System, is new, and health officials said all providers will eventually need to learn to use it. They will be able to apply for federal funds to help starting July 1.
To view the video, please visit: COVID-19 vaccinations in New Hampshire shift to doctor’s offices, pharmacies (wmur.com)