By Will Wright
Melanie Allen, a high school English teacher, was in a bind. She works in one state and lives in another. And both denied her a Covid-19 vaccine.
Ms. Allen, who lives in Chatham, N.H., but works in Maine, said she was told that she was not eligible for a vaccine by officials in both states. Although teachers are now eligible for vaccination in every state, her New Hampshire residency blocked her from receiving the vaccine in Maine, she said.
And in New Hampshire, she was told she is not eligible because she does not teach in the state and, at 45, does not meet the age requirement.
And so, she waited.
On Friday, Ms. Allen finally got her first shot after a health center in Maine decided to vaccinate teachers no matter where they lived.
“Even though the states haven’t officially changed their tune,” she said, “it was heartening to see that the local community was stepping in to make sure the right thing happened.”
About half of the states have residency requirements for vaccinations, though most allow out-of-state workers to receive a shot if they meet other eligibility conditions, said Jennifer Kates, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit focused on national health issues.
Connecticut, for example, allows workers who live in other states to receive the vaccine if they can prove that they work in an approved industry.
States including Florida and New Hampshire limited the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to residents in hopes of stemming complaints of “vaccine tourism,” where a person could drive across a state line for a shot that they would not be eligible for back home.
Although most states allow nonresident workers to be inoculated, Ms. Kates said people living in one state and working in another might run into snags as they navigate the scheduling process.
“When you have such a patchwork of requirements,” Ms. Kates said, “it’s like a puzzle, and people who really want to get vaccinated are trying to figure how they can get that last piece of the puzzle.”
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