SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Department of Health Secretary-designate Dr. Tracie Collins and Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase provided a COVID-19 webinar update on Tuesday, Dec. 22. The state announced that you can now get a spot in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as they are still trying to decide what group of people should get it next.
Right now, any New Mexican can sign up to get the vaccine through a new website. It is currently only going to frontline health care workers but when the state settles on the next phases, it will alert people when it’s their turn. “Certainly, essential workers are in line and we need to figure out how we sub-prioritize within those groups and do that equitably, also age 75 and older are in line with essential workers; so we are in the planning phases now,” said Dr. Collins.
Dr. Collins says that come January, the state will be ready to present those next phases. Now, when you sign up on the website, it does ask you what field you work in as well as your zip code. Dr. Collins and Dr. Scrase say both will likely be factors of whatever phase you end up falling into.
In the meantime, Dr. Scrase says we are officially on the downside of the state’s massive third wave. Cases are down and hospitals are getting some relief everywhere except for the northwestern part of the state. As a last warning ahead of the holidays, Dr. Scrase said we can head into 2021 in one of two ways.
“We’re a little nervous about the Christmas holiday. If we can get the same results over Christmas and the winter holidays that we got for Thanksgiving, we’ll be in much better shape for some things we’d like to do in the new year. So I’m just asking folks to hang in there,” Dr. Scrase said.
Dr. Scrase thinks we are officially halfway through this pandemic. He also estimates it will be February before the state sees the effects the vaccine has on the pandemic. Fourteen-thousand health care workers have received their first dose of the vaccine so far, and they’re expanding access to other health care workers and long-term care facilities.
In a news briefing on Monday, New Mexico health experts stated that about a third of each hospital’s patient-care staff has received the COVID-19 vaccine. Another 12, 675 doses are heading to hospitals like Presbyterian and UNMH with some also going to the Department of Health warehouse where they will then distribute to CHRISTUS St. Vincent, Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, and San Juan Regional in Farmington between Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.