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RELEASE: Sununu Lies About Why He Won’t Vaccinate College Students in New Hampshire

Concord, N.H. -- Following blowback from his decision not to vaccinate all college students in New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu is lying about how New Hampshire receives vaccine doses from the federal government. Last week during an interview with Chris Ryan on NH Today, Sununu lied and said that the allocation of vaccines for New Hampshire from the federal government is based on population and does not include students who moved here from out of state. Today, Sununu doubled down on his false claim at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce State of the State and he said, “The federal government gives us vaccine based on our residents. They don’t give me an allocation based on [...] out-of-state college students.” College students -- regardless of where their parents reside -- are counted as New Hampshire residents by the federal government. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college students “should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.” Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau also stated that “students living away from home should be counted at their on-campus or off-campus college address, even if coronavirus has temporarily sent them to stay with their parents.” The federal government allocates vaccine doses to states based on population data provided by the Census. Sununu also incorrectly claimed that “no state in New England right now is allowing out-of-state college students to get the vaccine.” Connecticut is already vaccinating all college students, Massachusetts has an explicit policy of vaccinating Massachusetts students originally from out of state, Maine students from out-of-state will be eligible for vaccines in Maine, and Rhode Island expects to vaccinate all students regardless of residency status. Sununu has received backlash from health care professionals, educators, and elected leaders over his decision not to vaccinate all college students 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. Sununu’s decision not to vaccinate all college students in New Hampshire is especially eye-popping given his decisions to vaccinate ski patrol members -- even out-of-staters and volunteers -- and downgrade the priority of teachers despite nearly every other state choosing to vaccinate teachers in Phase 1. Sununu even tried to allow non-residents who own second homes in New Hampshire -- but are not full-time residents and therefore, unlike college students, not counted in the state’s vaccine allocation -- to get the vaccine, but bowed under pressure and reversed course. Sununu and his family own the Waterville ski resort which has many out-of-state condo owners. “Governor Sununu’s refusal to vaccinate all New Hampshire college students is nothing more than a political stunt to placate his Republican base and further disenfranchise young people -- and it will come at the expense of the health and safety of all Granite Staters,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “It’s shameful that Sununu is putting political games ahead of public health.”

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