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ICYMI - Elected Officials & Student Leaders Discussed Sununu’s Decision to Exclude College Students

In Case You Missed It, elected officials and student leaders discussed how Governor Sununu’s decision to exclude many college students -- who attend New Hampshire colleges during the majority of the year -- in the state’s vaccination plan will make the COVID crisis worse in New Hampshire. At his press conference last Thursday, Sununu said that the vaccine was “for permanent New Hampshire residents,” and said that many college students would not be included in the vaccine rollout. Since then, Sununu has faced significant backlash from education and health care professionals who say this decision puts New Hampshire residents at risk as the majority of students who attend the University of New Hampshire, Keene State, Plymouth State, and Dartmouth College would be excluded and college towns like Durham and Hanover have some of the highest per capita cases of COVID-19 in the state. You can listen to the press conference here and read excerpts from the remarks below. State Senator Tom Sherman: “Unfortunately last week, in what is really rather shocking and confusing, Governor Sununu announced that he’s refusing to allow many college students to register for the vaccine. Bottom line, this will make the COVID crisis worse in New Hampshire because any unvaccinated people represent a risk to all of us -- including themselves, especially with the rapid rise of these highly contagious COVID variants and the rise of COVID cases in towns like Durham and Hanover that have some of the highest per capita COVID caseloads in the state.” State Representative Jeffrey Salloway: “As an Epidemiologist and former college professor, I know firsthand how important it is that we do everything we can to vaccinate students to mitigate the spread of COVID. The data shows that COVID is spreading on college campuses at a faster rate than in other New Hampshire towns -- especially in places like Durham and Hanover which are seeing some of the highest per capita case counts in the state. As of Thursday, March 25th, the town of Durham which is home to New Hampshire’s largest university had 110 active coronavirus cases. This is the third most of any community in the state. And on UNH’s campus alone, there were 164 active cases, 155 of them students.” Ginny Walsh, UNH student: “So many of New Hampshire’s student population work at minimum wage, high-risk jobs waiting tables and bagging groceries. If we’re not vaccinated doing these types of jobs, we’re more likely to spread it to the communities we live in. Governor Sununu knows this, but he’s ignoring reality and playing politics instead. Vaccinating students would be a logical and scientifically backed public health measure that would save lives, reduce cases, and help get life back to normal for everyone.” Hannah Dunleavy, Dartmouth student: “Vaccinating the student population is just common sense. Clearly, students at Dartmouth are contracting COVID-19 at high rates and we risk spreading the virus to people in the town of Hanover if we don’t vaccinate students. The virus doesn’t care if we live in New Hampshire nine months out of the year or all year round -- just one of my classmates can still spread the virus to vulnerable populations if we’re not vaccinated. Governor Sununu’s choice not to vaccinate students is reckless and puts lives at risk.”

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