NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – There’s been a lot of talk about people getting COVID booster shots. But who is eligible now? When will everyone be eligible and how will it work in New Mexico? The state health department said plans are still being finalized on how it will administer COVID boosters if it gets approved for all Americans.

Story continues below

“We’re expecting instruction on a federal level first and foremost as to when to begin giving out booster shots,” said David Morgan, Spokesperson with the New Mexico Department of Health. “We’re then able to be able in turn to make our own plans and make sure those plans intersect well with one another, that they’re a good fit for one another and that everybody gets the vaccine that they need when they need it.”

Right now, only people who are immunocompromised are able to get a booster shot. New Mexicans who are currently eligible can schedule their shot through their doctor or the state’s vaccine portal. President Biden has said he wants all Americans to get a booster shot eight months after their second dose, but this is still pending CDC and FDA approval.

If that happens, the state said it does have enough supply for a booster for New Mexicans. Large vaccine clinics like we saw the first time around aren’t off the table, but leaders of area hospitals think they’re unlikely.

“I don’t think we’re going to have to have big hubs this time around because we have it within a couple [of] miles of everyone’s home. and that’s really what we need,” said Dr. Jason Mitchell, Chief Medical and Clinical Transformation Officer at Presbyterian Health Services, at a press conference.

They also explain people getting their booster would come in waves since people were getting vaccines in prioritized phases the first time around. The state said it may use the state’s portal to notify people when they would be available for a booster shot. It’s also discouraging anyone from getting a booster before the eight-month gap from their second dose. If approved by the FDA and CDC, booster shots could come as soon as September 20.

COVID-19 Booster Shot – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why get a booster?

It’s common for protection from vaccines to decrease over time. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the COVID-19 vaccine’s ability to prevent infection is dropping markedly during the delta surge among nursing home patients and others.

Q: When should they be given?

In a plan announced Wednesday by the CDC, it’s advised people get a booster eight months after getting their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Health and Human Services officials say there will likely be an update on a Johnson & Johnson booster soon.

Q: Why eight months?

Eight months is a judgment call about when vaccine protection against severe illness might fall based on the direction of current data.

Q: Who would get the booster?

The first people who were in line to get vaccinated are the same ones in line to get the booster: health care workers, nursing home residents, and other older Americans.

Q: What’s the difference between a booster and a third shot?

Transplant recipients and other people with weakened immune systems may not have gotten enough protection from vaccines to begin with. They can now receive a third dose at least 28 days after their second shot as part of their initial series of shots needed for them to be fully vaccinated. For those with normal immune systems, boosters are given much later after full vaccination – not to establish protection, but to rev it up again.