“This is a significant, historic investment,” Mr. Espinoza said. “But when you take into account the magnitude of the crisis in front of us, it’s clear that this is only a first step.”

View Source

New Hampshire and Oklahoma Move to Open Covid Vaccines to Nonresidents

New Hampshire and Oklahoma announced plans this week to open up vaccine eligibility to outside residents as supply starts to grow and more states expand eligibility.

Gov. Chris Sununu, Republican of New Hampshire, said officials were confident that there would be enough shots to vaccinate outside residents by April 19, the same day that President Biden has called for every state to make all adults eligible for a shot. Mr. Sununu said New Hampshire was “well ahead” of that deadline after making all adults ages 16 or older in the state eligible for a vaccine on April 2.

“We’re going to have a lot of vaccine here,” he said at a news briefing on Thursday, “so we want to get it out to anyone who might actually be here in the state.”

The change came after Mr. Sununu faced criticism from students and Democratic lawmakers for not allowing out-of-state college students to get vaccinated in New Hampshire. He said last week that residents had to “come first” and that college students were at lower risk compared with other age groups.

New York Times vaccine tracker. New Hampshire is behind some other states, though, in fully vaccinating residents, with about 22 percent completely inoculated.

Oklahoma began allowing outside residents to get vaccinated in the state on Thursday, nearly two weeks after the state made all adults ages 16 or older eligible.

“We have always known there would be a point at which supply and increasing capacity would allow us to welcome residents from neighboring states into Oklahoma to get vaccinated,” Keith Reed, a deputy commissioner at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said in a statement. “We are now reaching that point.”

About 35 percent of Oklahoma’s population has received at least one shot, and 22 percent are fully vaccinated.

Indiana also ended its residency requirement late last month. Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said officials made the change to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency vaccination site rules. The state also wanted to accommodate college students and residents who live with multiple people but may not have proof of residency. More than half of the states and the District of Columbia have residency requirements for vaccination, although most allow exceptions for out-of-state workers, according to a vaccine tracker from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on national health issues.

about three million shots a day, an increase from roughly two million in early March. Although millions of Americans are getting vaccinated, the country is reporting a sharp rise in new cases, with an average of 67,923 new reported cases a day over the past week, according to a New York Times database.

Jennifer Kates, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said more states are likely to follow New Hampshire and Oklahoma’s path as vaccine production ramps up.

“If a state does feel more secure in its supply and is not feeling a crunch,” Dr. Kates said, “then the ability to help the national effort to vaccinate more people and remove barriers becomes important.”

View Source

More Eager for Covid Vaccine but Skeptics Remain, U.S. Poll Says

As eligibility for Covid-19 vaccination rapidly expands to all adults in many states over the next month, a new poll shows a continuing increase in the number of Americans, particularly Black adults, who want to get vaccinated. But it also found that vaccine skepticism remains stubbornly persistent, particularly among Republicans and white evangelical Christians, an issue that the Biden administration has flagged as an impediment to achieving herd immunity and a return to normal life.

By now, roughly 61 percent of adults have either received their first dose or are eager for one, up from 47 percent in January, according to the latest monthly survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The shift was most striking among Black Americans, some of whom have previously expressed hesitancy but who have also had access issues. Since just February, 14 percent more Black adults said they wanted or had already gotten the vaccine. Over all, Black adults, who have also been on the receiving end of vigorous promotional campaigns by celebrities, local Black physicians, clergy members and public health officials, now want the vaccine in numbers almost comparable to other leading demographic groups: 55 percent, compared with 61 percent for Latinos and 64 percent for white people.

The Biden administration has made equity a focus of its pandemic response and has added mass vaccination sites in several underserved communities. In early March, a New York Times analysis of state-reported race and ethnicity information showed that the vaccination rate for Black people in the United States was half that of white people, and the gap for Hispanic people was even larger.

administered hit 2.77 million on Tuesday, an increase over the pace the previous week, according to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey was taken between March 15 through March 22, among a random sample of 1862 adults.

Despite the progress, one in five adults (20 percent) say they would either definitely refuse the shot or only be vaccinated if required by their job or school. A number of employers and institutions are considering imposing such a requirement. Last week, Rutgers University became the first large academic institution to require students this fall to get the vaccine (with exemptions for some medical or religious reasons).

The people most likely to firmly oppose being vaccinated identify as Republicans (29 percent) or as white evangelical Christians (28 percent). In contrast, only 10 percent of Black adults said they would definitely not get it.

Awash in online misinformation, many cling to a fast-spreading myth — that tracker microchips are embedded in the shots.

For rural residents, access to the vaccine is so problematic that they see the logistics and travel time involved as simply not worth it.

With so many reasons cited to avoid the vaccine, crafting messages to coax vaccine confidence can be difficult. But the latest Kaiser report identified some approaches that seem to be successful in moving people to consider the shots.

At least two-thirds of the so-called wait and see group said they would be persuaded by the message that the vaccines are “nearly 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalization and death from Covid-19.” Other strong messages included information that the new vaccines are based on 20-year-old technology, that the vaccine trials included a broad diversity of candidates, and that the vaccines are free.

The survey also noted that many people who are hesitant would be amenable to certain incentives. As the country begins to open up and on-site work returns, the role of the employer in vaccination is becoming increasingly pertinent. A quarter of those who are hesitant and have a job said that they would get the shot if their employer arranged for workplace vaccination. Nearly as many would agree if their employers gave them financial incentives ranging from $50 to $200.

But over all, the strong growth in adults who have either gotten one dose of the vaccine or are inclined to get it is most likely because of their increasing familiarity with the notion. Surveys show that as they begin to know more friends and relatives who have gotten the shot, they can more readily imagine getting it themselves.

View Source