Vaccine Localism Defines Who Belongs


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Vaccine Localism Defines Who Belongs

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This article says the NH state government has changed its policy to define NH residents for vaccine purposes as NOT including second home owners, non-resident landlords, and other non-full-time residents. This matches policy in Vermont and Maine, both of which have cited vaccine scarcity as a reason to prioritize their own full-time residents (and presumably voters). Who "belongs" has been a hot question in New Hampshire since long before the Coronavirus emerged, but Covid-19 has emphasized existing fault lines. Lots of people with second homes moved more full-time to New Hampshire starting in March 2020, escaping areas with higher infection rates but being perceived as virus vectors by locals, particularly in areas that usually only see tourists in the summer. Vaccine scarcity has created an us against them mentality. NH is prioritizing those most at risk of death - which means those in nursing homes and congregate care facilities (did anyone know that word prior to coronavirus?) and first responders, but in the state with the 4th largest elderly population, that leaves a lot of people over 65 and living at home as second in line. The Governor had already put ski patrol in the list of first responders (so ski areas could open), so letting second home owners get vaccinated seemed to again prioritize those with more money over those more at risk. Little of any of this affects me directly - I'm already in a lower vaccine category due to being younger and healthier than the state average. But in a state where 21 years residence still marks you as an outsider since your family is not from NH, the increased "localism" feels potentially dangerous. While prioritizing full-time residents make sense to me, what will be the next line drawn and will I be okay with that one? How do existing biases in NH affect our vision of "who belongs"?
News article from New Hampshire Public Radio

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This item was submitted on January 26, 2021 by Beth Salerno using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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