Team 12 Investigates: As vaccine seekers cross state lines, could residency rules face changes?

If you’re planning on taking a “vaccine road trip,” you might want to speed up your plans. Residency rules are under scrutiny amid fierce backlash and high demand for shots.

News 12 Staff

Mar 5, 2021, 2:05 PM

Updated 1,230 days ago

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The secret is out: you can get a COVID-19 vaccine in certain states if you know where to look.
But if you're planning on taking a "vaccine road trip," you might want to speed up your plans. Some states are making a U-turn on their guidelines, amid fierce backlash.
Since News 12's investigation began, some states have changed course and others are considering more changes.
DATA: Searchable table of state requirements in the U.S. (list also available at bottom of article)
Reaction has been pouring in since our first investigation aired last week - not only from travelers, but from decision-makers across the country who are facing increased scrutiny over their policies.
While the lifesaving doses are still limited in the Hudson Valley, more and more people across the tri-state are 'hitting the road' in search of shorter wait times elsewhere.
One week after the News 12 team started digging deeper on vaccine tourism, there was a major policy reversal in the state of Idaho. There were previously no guidelines barring out-of-staters from traveling to Idaho to get vaccinated - and News 12 found out that nearly 5,000 doses went into the arms of people who don't live there.
The Idaho Department of Health director says everyone there now needs proof they live or work in the state.
SEARCH FOR A CURE: COVID-19 Data and Resources
There are still 20 other states that allow you to schedule an appointment - regardless of your residency status. It includes popular winter getaways such as Arizona, Colorado, South Carolina and even California.
A lesser-known spot - with a much shorter drive - is now the top destination. State data shows Pennsylvania has vaccinated more than 100,000 non-residents since January.
Some lawmakers are now advising against vaccine tourism - even though it's perfectly legal.
"Whenever you flee the state, you know, there's the potential of more infection. So therefore, I would avoid travel, I would avoid leaving the state," says Assemblyman Nader Sayegh.
Americans aren't the only ones hoping to jump the line.
Foreign and domestic travelers jetting to Florida in droves led to fierce criticism and new residency requirements in the Sunshine State.
But before the rules changed, nearly 80,000 people from across New York and the world flocked to Florida to get vaccinated, including a popular TV host from Mexico.
Conversations are also underway in other hot spots such as Arizona on whether or not to change course. Then there are states like South Carolina, which opened its doors and has no plans to shut them.
Those who live in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey do not have to notify their home state after taking a vaccine road trip, but people should still keep their vaccine card handy the next time they travel.

Which states have residency requirements?

  1. Alabama - No residency required.
  2. Alaska - Has residency requirements but is open to people who work in the state. Will ask for proof of employment.
  3. Arizona - No residency required.
  4. Arkansas - Open to people who work in the state.
  5. California - No residency required.
  6. Colorado - No residency required.
  7. Connecticut - Open to people who live out of state but work in the state. Must show proof.
  8. Delaware - Open to people who live out of state but work in the state. Must show proof.
  9. Florida - Open to people who own a property or work in the state. Must show proof
  10. Georgia - Open to people who live part-time in the state and live out of state but work in the state. Must show proof.
  11. Hawaii - Has residency requirements, includes part-time residents and "snowbirds."
  12. Idaho - Requires proof of residency or work in the state in order to get vaccine.
  13. Illinois - Has residency requirements but includes part-time residents.
  14. Indiana - Has residency requirements but is open to people who work in the state. Will ask for proof of employment.
  15. Iowa - No residency required.
  16. Kansas - Residency required, determined on county-by-county basis.
  17. Kentucky - Has residency requirements with exceptions for out-of-state nurses who work in state.
  18. Louisiana - No residency required.
  19. Maine - Residency required - must be a Maine resident or work in the state. Proof is required.
  20. Maryland - No residency required.
  21. Massachusetts - Open to people who live or work in the state. 
  22. Michigan - No residency required.
  23. Minnesota - Residency required. Employees who live out of state must set up a vaccine through their employer.
  24. Mississippi - Has residency requirements, but open to residents and people who live out of state and work in state such as nurses.
  25. Missouri - No residency required.
  26. Montana - No residency requirements, but it’s a decentralized state so counties may ask for proof of residency.
  27. Nebraska - Residency required.
  28. Nevada - No residency required.
  29. New Hampshire - Residency required - not open to anyone who doesn't have the required documentation.
  30. New Jersey - Residency required but is open to people who work or go to school in the state.
  31. New Mexico - No residency required.
  32. New York - Residency required.
  33. North Carolina - No residency required.
  34. North Dakota - Residency required - must work or attend school or own property in the state.
  35. Ohio - No residency required.
  36. Oklahoma - Residency required - full- and part-time residents will have to show proof. Will will turn away out-of-state residents
  37. Oregon - Residency required but open to people who work or attend school in the state.
  38. Pennsylvania - No residency required.
  39. Rhode Island - Residency required but also open to people who work or go to school in the state.
  40. South Carolina - No residency required
  41. South Dakota - Residency requirements for now until the vaccine is widespread.
  42. Tennessee - No residency required
  43. Texas - No residency required
  44. Utah - Residency required.
  45. Vermont - Residency required but also open to people who work in the state.
  46. Virginia - No residency required.
  47. Washington - Residency required but also open to people who work in state.
  48. West Virginia - Residency required but also open to people who work in the state.
  49. Wisconsin - Residency required but also open to people who work and study in the state.
  50. Wyoming - No residency required.


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