NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Department of Health is working to make the COVID-19 vaccination process easier on the elderly, and other New Mexicans in need of extra support.
The state is rolling out the vaccine fast but some seniors are struggling to even get to their appointment. Now the Department of Health says they’re doing what they can to change that. “If folks are following the rankings, New Mexico is doing very well compared to the rest of the country,” says Department of Health Spokesperson Matt Bieber.
While New Mexico is leading most of the country in how fast the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed, some eligible groups have faced a few setbacks in getting their vaccine. “I’m 78, I live by myself. I’m handicapped, I use a walker, and I have nobody except one friend and she’s getting tired of getting on that computer all the time,” says 78-year-old Raymonda Zanotti.
New Mexico is in phase 1B for the vaccine, which includes people 75 and older, those with underlying health problems, frontline essential workers, and educators. Bieber says they are working to simplify the process – not just for the elderly, but other New Mexicans that might need some extra help.” And that includes people who aren’t comfortable with the internet or don’t have internet access, that includes folks with mobility challenges, it includes folks who are homebound,” Bieber says.
Bieber says soon, people will notice a change to the registration portal. “Very soon you’ll be able to indicate on the website of you have a mobility challenge. We’re now inviting households as a group so that if there is a senior who can’t drive, another family member will be able to do it for them,” Bieber says.
So far, the state has administered nearly 186,000 doses of the vaccine at high capacity venues like the Pit and Expo New Mexico. But Bieber says eventually the vaccine will be available to some in a much smaller setting. “We’re also beginning to roll out in-home vaccinations for folk who aren’t able to leave their home,” Bieber says.
The Department of Health rolled out the in-home vaccine in Las Cruces last week. And they’re working to expand them into Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The Department of Health also tells us they are working with community centers statewide, to offer assistance to seniors without internet or who need help with registration.