Gov. Chris Sununu did an about face Thursday on a residency requirement for the COVID-19 vaccination and will open availability up to everyone starting April 19.

Vaccinations had been limited to residents as Sununu wanted to make sure they were not denied the vaccine. The policy denied the vaccine to out-of-state students at the state's colleges including UNH where the majority of students are not New Hampshire residents.

"With all states expanding eligibility on April 19, we have confidence that there will not be a run on the system that will cause delays for NH residents," Sununu said in a message on his Twitter account.

"There are still 240,000 first dose appointments still available to schedule in VINI between now and Memorial Day, allowing plenty of opportunity for Granite State residents to schedule an appointment, or move up their appointments to an earlier date if they choose to," Sununu said.

Municipal leaders including Durham town administrator Todd Selig had asked Sununu to reconsider his stance in a letter on April 1 noting that there are 20,000 temporary residents in New Hampshire college towns.

"Controlling the spread of the virus on our campuses will have an immediate
beneficial impact on others in the community who may interact with college/university students in the grocery store, at the local pharmacy, in our restaurants and commercial/retail establishments, and will be critical to reducing the state's overall case count," they wrote.

Sununu argued that by the time the students were eligible for their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccination in May the academic year would be over and they would be gone. Since then the age limit to receive the vaccination in New Hampshire has dropped to 16.

Out of state residents will join residents in making appointments on the state website.

As of Thursday over a half million people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 265,058 are fully vaccinated, or 19.5% of the state's population.

While states are making most everyone over the age of 16 eligible for the vaccine there are also continued supply issues especially with the single dose Johnson & Johnson. Just 2,500 doses of the vaccine called Jannsen will be sent to New Hampshire next week because of manufacturing issues.

The company had to destroy 15 million doses because of they did not meet standards.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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