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.
About 47 percent of New Hampshire’s population of about 1.4 million has received at least one shot, the highest portion out of any state, according to a 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.
The United States is administering on average 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.”