Urge NH Governor Sununu to provide COVID-19 Vaccines to Out-Of-State Students

Confirmed victory

Urge NH Governor Sununu to provide COVID-19 Vaccines to Out-Of-State Students

This petition made change with 1,499 supporters!

UNH Student Body Vice President started this petition to Governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu

Dear Governor Sununu,

We are writing to you, today, as one of the many thousands of students from states around the country and the world who are grateful, and lucky, to attend school in New Hampshire. We also write as residents of communities across New Hampshire who depend on your leadership for our safety and well-being. We were thrilled to hear that all New Hampshire residents would be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of April 2, 2021. This is an amazing step in our progress toward defeating this pernicious threat. We were deeply disappointed to hear, however, that you would be haphazardly excluding thousands of us from this critical expansion because we are not technically residents of the state.

Students from across the nation are a vital component of the State’s ecosystem. We interact with New Hampshire-resident professors, receive mail to our New Hampshire addresses, and drink our morning coffee while walking down New Hampshire streets. Excluding us from New Hampshire vaccination programs not only puts our well-being at risk: it puts the lives of the community members we have contact with every single day in danger. Over 32% of New Hampshire residents live in college towns and this policy increases the risk for each and every one of them. Further, you’ve often stated that you cannot provide doses for college students because the federal government provides doses only for residents. The CDC has stated that they provide doses based on census data for which out-of-state residents students are counted. As a result, our doses have already been allocated and do not take away from those needed for New Hampshire residents. 

This policy is also out of step with that of states near and far. Fellow New England states, including Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island, have already agreed to vaccinate New Hampshire students attending their colleges and universities. Even Colorado, the state your hypothetical student hails from, has promised to vaccinate out-of-state resident students. If New Hampshire hopes to continue being a leader in COVID-19 response, it should prioritize vaccinating all those who live in New Hampshire, not excluding a select few of us because we may not have picked up a new drivers’ license.

In recent remarks, you said that residents of Colorado should “go to Colorado and get the vaccine for Colorado” before, presumably, flying back to New Hampshire to continue their studies. CDC guidelines still encourage Americans to limit their travel and, in order to maintain compliance with those guidelines, many colleges across the state have offered incentives to keep students on campus even during breaks between terms. Encouraging us to take multiple trips across state lines, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, is not only expensive and unattainable for many of us, it also increases the risk to communities in towns like Durham, Keene, Hanover, and Plymouth. These students should be offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine here while still following state and university guidelines.

Your administration has suggested that students should not receive the vaccine in New Hampshire because they may leave for the Summer Term before they receive the second shot. While it is true that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses, recent studies suggest that they are 92% and 85% efficacious after the first dose, indicating the massive safety benefits New Hampshire would accrue even if students left before receiving both doses. Further, receiving the dose in two different locations (whether across state lines or within New Hampshire) is not only accepted practice, but encouraged in some states. As a result, restricting student access to vaccines hurts Granite State communities near colleges and universities but does not benefit anyone.

This summer, you presented college students with a “bit of a plea” to take care of our communities here in New Hampshire. We now plead with you to take care of us, the students of New Hampshire’s universities who call the Granite State our home. If you are truly worried about the impact we, as young adults, may have on the spread of COVID-19, then you have the power to include us in your vaccination plan. You have acknowledged many times how detrimental an outbreak on a college campus can be to the broader New Hampshire community. We are not just students: we are employees at local businesses, volunteers at local organizations, and mentors at local schools. COVID-19 will infect anyone living in New Hampshire, resident or not. You should vaccinate us the same way. Institutions of higher learning have played a critical role in the success of the state. Students always have, and always will be, present here. By vaccinating us, you can ensure that COVID-19 is not.

Confirmed victory

This petition made change with 1,499 supporters!