It was not quite 30 degrees in Manchester, N.H. — with a wind chill of 19 — but Gov. Chris Sununu looked relieved and happy as the first few health care workers in the state were vaccinated against Covid-19 Tuesday morning outside the Elliot Hospital.
Even as he marked the occasion, though, the governor, a Republican, warned that it was far too soon for residents to let their guard down. And he dismissed the idea of elected officials like himself getting in the vaccine line ahead of the people most at risk.
“I think that’s ridiculous, frankly — I just completely disagree with that,” Sununu said.
Mr. Sununu, 46, noted that he has older parents (his father, John H. Sununu, was governor in the 1980s) and that he regularly picks up food at restaurants and goes grocery shopping. He said he was worried not just about keeping himself safe but also about unwittingly infecting others. Still, he said, he would wait his turn: “When it’s my time, I’ll be the first to step up.”
On Sunday, President Trump said he was reversing a directive to vaccinate top federal officials at a time when supplies are limited and public distribution of the shot is supposed to focus on frontline health workers and nursing home residents. News that White House staff members would receive the vaccine early had drawn sharp criticism on social media.
Governor Sununu urged residents to stay disciplined and keep making “small sacrifices,” including mask-wearing and social distancing. “It is going to take quite a few more months to get there,” he said.
Tuesday was the second day of Covid-19 vaccinations across the country. Lori Shibinette, the New Hampshire health commissioner, said the state had received more than 12,000 doses so far, and intended to use them all within the next two weeks. Vaccinations at the state’s hard-hit nursing homes, she said, would begin next week through a separate federal program.
The bulk of inoculations went to medical workers across the country on Monday, but they were not the only ones. Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia was vaccinated as cameras rolled.