New Mexico expands vaccine eligibility, more vaccines on the way

Las Cruces News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Starting Monday, all adults over 16 are eligible to register for the vaccine in New Mexico and the state is expected to start receiving larger supplies.

Matt Bieber, director of communications for New Mexico Department of Health , said the state is entering the second phase of vaccination efforts to get more vaccines into arms as many rural providers filled slots with those eligible in previous phases.

“Part of the reason we get vaccinated isn’t just for us, but to protect our elders and the community,” said Bieber, explaining another reason why the state decided to expand eligibility.

According to NMDOH, metropolitan areas such as Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces still have more people from previous phases that need to be vaccinated.

“We’re still prioritizing invitations for people in the earlier phases, but we do expect at some point in the next couple of weeks … to get to a point where folks can do their own scheduling,” explained Bieber.

As of right now, residents under 75 years of age have to wait for an appointment invitation from the state after registering.

In Dona Ana County, NMDOH started the program of “homebound” vaccinations available for residents facing difficulties in attending their vaccination appointment.

“It’s our logistically most complex vaccination effort and it heavily relies on partnership between the Department of Health and local emergency managers,” said Bieber.

To help reach out to the elderly and people with disabilities, NMDOH enabled registration via phone, according to Bieber.

He confirmed that New Mexico is expected to receive about 130,000 vaccines this week, which is a 35-percent increase from previous allocations.

Bieber said it was still too early to talk about first-come, first-serve vaccinations, but he said once the state starts receiving more vaccines in the next few months, they hope to be able to offer it as soon as possible to anyone who wants it.

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