Vaccine Eligibility Expands to 40+ Monday in NH: What to Know

Gov. Chris Sununu warned Sunday that during high volume times in the morning people may have to wait to book appointments

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Gov. Chris Sununu is urging New Hampshire residents to exercise patience as the state’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment website opens up to people ages 40 and over on Monday. New Hampshire is the first state in New England to offer expanded eligibility to individuals ages 40-plus.

The Republican warned Sunday that during high volume times in the morning people may have to wait to book appointments through the Vaccine and Immunization Network Interface, or VINI.

Why is there a new system to register for an appointment?

The state replaced the federal Vaccine Administration Management System with its own VINI sign-up website. Thousands of people experienced problems with the previous system, particularly in scheduling their second doses, and officials had expected the new system to avoid those woes. But many users said they experienced problems when they tried to sign up for vaccine appointments last week.

A new online waiting room will give users an estimated wait time, Sununu said. And the state is urging everyone to use only one device to sign up to avoid contributing to longer wait times.

“We have made upgrades to the system which will allow more than 1,000 people per minute to register with plenty of appointments for everyone,” the governor said in a statement.

Everything seemed to go smoothly Monday morning, with nearly 30,000 people making appointments in the first few hours.

When does the next stage of the state's vaccination plan start?

By the end of this week, everyone ages 16 and older will be eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in the state.

The next group, ages 30-39, can register as of Wednesday, and the last group ages 16-29, can sign up on Friday. The vaccine has not yet been approved for children under 16.

Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for those ages 16-18, and sites will note that for that group.

“We feel fairly confident that everyone should be able to get their first shot by Memorial Day,” Sununu said last week.

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