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NH Expects 'Unprecedented' Volume Friday As Residents 65 And Older Can Register For COVID Vaccine

CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) – New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu urged residents to be patient Friday as the state rolls out its sign up website for hundreds of thousands of people who are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.

As of Friday people are eligible to sign up to receive the vaccine if they are over 65 years old, medically vulnerable with two or more conditions, residents or staff of residential facilities, corrections officers, or first responders and health workers who have not already been vaccinated.

The state's sign up portal goes live at 8 a.m. on Friday. The first appointments will begin on Tuesday.

Sununu called the rollout "very exciting" but also said it is "a very big undertaking."

Residents can also call 211 to sign up. The state anticipates a high call volume, and asked state employees to volunteer to staff the call centers. Sununu said he had hoped 100 employees would sign up, but instead over 300 volunteered.

The governor said the state is expecting "unprecedented" call volume and wait times could be an hour or more. That is why residents are asked to instead visit the state's website.

"The system is set up, it's going to work," said Sununu. "Our website can handle well over 100,000 individuals at a time. That's why we're trying to push as many folks as we can to the website. We've heard of other stories across the country of websites crashing. And I know a lot of our citizens have heard similar stories. We've really tried to make our portal as big as possible to be able to handle as many requests at a single at a single time as possible. And right now it looks like if we can handle over 100,000. That should be enough, obviously."

Sununu said if the federal government is able increase its vaccine allocation, more reservation spots will be put into the system. He said the state is currently receiving around 17,000 vaccines a week with more than 300,000 people currently eligible.

"We get them all out. We put needles in arms as fast as we get them in. The team has done a great job with that," said Sununu. "But that would still take weeks and weeks to get through the first and subsequent second shot for this at this current rate. As the federal government increases vaccines for the state of New Hampshire, we will add more reservation spots within our system and be able to move people up and just be able to go through the whole process much more quickly."

For information on how to sign up to receive the vaccine, visit the state's website.

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