When can I get the COVID vaccine in New Mexico?

Coronavirus Resources

What you need to know about the coronavirus vaccine

New Mexico Department of Health Vaccine Phases

New Mexico Department of Health Vaccine Phases

Now there are authorized and recommended vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States. Currently, there are two vaccines that are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19. Below are some things to know about the COVID-19 vaccines.


When can I get the COVID vaccine?

As of January 22 the following groups are currently eligible for vaccine:

  • Hospital personnel
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Medical first responders
  • Congregate setting workers
  • Persons providing direct medical care and other in-person services
  • Home-based health care and hospice workers
  • People 75+
  • People 16+ at risk of COVID complications

No other groups are eligible at this time.


Vaccine distribution in New Mexico is divided into phases.

Phase 1A – Winter

  • Hospital personnel
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Medical first responders
  • Congregate setting workers (homeless shelters, correctional facilities, residential treatment centers, and community homes
  • Persons providing direct medical care and other in-person services
  • Home-based healthcare and hospice workers

Phase 1B – Winter/Spring

  • Persons 75+
  • Person16+ at risk of COVID complications
  • Because the number of people in Phase 1B is much larger than available supply, not all frontline essential workers can be vaccinated simultaneously. Frontline essential workers will be vaccinated in the following order.
    • Family home caregivers, child care workers
    • Early education and K-12 educators/staff and other personnel in educational institutions needed on-site to support in-person learning 
    • Grocery store workers
    • Food and agriculture workers, including farms, ranches and other food cultivation operations
    • Food processing or packaging operations 
    • Public transit workers 
    • Critical manufacturing workers 
    • Adult and child protective services workers 
    • Public health, environmental, occupational health and other workers who perform in-person inspections to promote health and safety of licensed and unlicensed facilities and operations
    • Mortuary, cremation and cemetery service workers 
    • Court personnel; elected and appointed officials in government who are unable to work remotely and/or telework
    • Personnel who provide in-person services necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences or essential businesses including security services, towing services, custodial services, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades
    • Hardware and construction stores
    • Laundromats and dry cleaner services
    • Workers not covered in Phase 1A in research centers and laboratories who are unable to work remotely and/or telework
  • Vulnerable populations: Residents of congregate settings

Phase 1C – Spring

  • Adults 60+
  • Other essential workers unable to work remotely: Transport and logistics, utilities, energy, water and wastewater, food service, retail, shelter and housing, financial services, IT and communications, energy, legal and accounting, media, veterinary and livestock services

Phase 2 – Summer

  • Members of the general public (age 16+)

How do I register to get the vaccine?

In order to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, you must complete your profile on the New Mexico Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Registration website which includes: personal information, demographics, employer information, insurance information, and chronic medical conditions.

  • Once you have completed your profile, you will be contacted by the Department of Health as soon as you are able to schedule an appointment. On the day of your appointment, the Department of Health will prompt you to fill out your medical questionnaire.
  • To view your registration, you will need a registration code. To get the code go to the vaccine registration website, click VIEW MY PROFILE and click “Do not know your confirmation code?
Vaccine Registration Website
  • 1-855-600-3453
  • Press option 0 to Register for Vaccine or General Questions
  • Press option 4 for tech support
Vaccine Status Dashboard
Map: Tracking Vaccinations in New Mexico

How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The vaccine is free.

The federal government is requiring vaccine providers to administer vaccine to people regardless of their insurance status or immigration status.  And they must administer without charging them for the vaccine. Vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee that is reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Provider Relief Fund.


Who should I call if I have questions?

The New Mexico Department of Health has announced that the DOH hotline is now offering support for questions surrounding vaccine registration. Those who have questions would like support with the registration process, or those without internet access can dial 1-855-600-3453 and press option 0 for vaccine questions and then option 4 for tech support.


When will New Mexico be getting more vaccinations?

FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the first two vaccines. However, there is limited supply. This means that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away, and vaccines may not be available to the general public until mid-2021. 

Vaccine will be prioritized for frontline health care workers in hospital settings. The state will then provide vaccine to other frontline healthcare workers and first responders, as well as staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.  This is in line with federal recommendations.

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine when large quantities are available. We expect that several thousand vaccination providers and numerous locations throughout the state will eventually be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, community locations, and federally qualified health centers.


Will the vaccine be required for residents of New Mexico?

No.


Will I have to get more than one shot?

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, require two doses.

New Mexicans who receive a dose of a particular vaccine must receive a second dose of the vaccine from the same manufacturer, as they are not interchangeable. For example, if you receive a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, your second dose must be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, your second dose must be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered 21 days after the first dose. If you receive the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, your second dose must be the Moderna vaccine administered 28 days after the first dose.


Why do I need two shots?

Regardless of which vaccine you receive, the second dose needs to be from the same manufacturer.

For vaccines in development that require a two-dose series, the second shot is needed to give maximum immunity.

The New Mexico Department of Health uses the New Mexico Statewide Immunization Information System (NMSIIS) to collect information on vaccine doses given within the state. NMSIIS has a feature that will send a reminder message on when to get a second dose. Your vaccination provider may also send you a reminder notice and give you a card reminding you when you will be due for your second shot.

All but one of the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States require TWO shots – over a period of time — to be effective.

Johnson & Johnson is working on a vaccine that that only requires a single shot.


Do I need the COVID-19 vaccine even if I’m not in a high-risk group?

Yes.  While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe case or they may even die.  There is no way to know in advance how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. 

Also, if you get infected, you may spread the disease to friends, family and others around you.  COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. The sooner most people are vaccinated and protected against COVID-19 disease, the sooner New Mexicans and all Americans can get back to normal life.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me test positive?

No. 

Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests.  These tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.

Different COVID-19 Vaccines

According to the CDC, there are two vaccines that are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:

As of Dec. 28, 2020, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for three COVID-19 vaccines in the United States according to the CDC.

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine​

How does the vaccine work?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were developed with a new technology that has never been licensed before in the United States. Typically, a vaccine is used by putting a weakened or inactive virus into the body in order to trigger an immune response which in turn, produces antibodies.

Antibodies identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. Messenger RNA vaccines, (mRNA) however, use cells to make a protein, in this case, the same protein that is the spike of the coronavirus. This makes it impossible to contract coronavirus from the vaccine as they don’t contain the live virus.

How effective is the vaccine?

An FDA analysis of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and partner BioNTech found the vaccine to be 95% effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID-19. After the initial dose, the vaccine demonstrated to be more than 52% effective and that the protection rose to 95% a week after the second dose was administered.

What are side effects of the vaccine?

According to the CDC, you may have some side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. They say the side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Common Side Effects

On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

The CDC reports that in most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

Will I get an allergic reaction with the vaccine?

According to the Pfizer and BioNTech study of 42,000 people, the rate of allergic reactions was about the same in people who got the coronavirus vaccine versus those who received a placebo. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewers who examined the study’s safety data discovered that 137 or 0.63% of vaccine recipients reported symptoms that were suggestive of an allergic reaction. This is compared to 111 or 0.51% of placebo recipients.

How long will the protection for the COVID-19 vaccine last?

At this time it is unknown how long immunity lasts.

Can I stop wearing a mask once I receive a vaccine?

According to the Associated Press, you should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing even after being vaccinated. This is because both Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations require second doses and the effects of the vaccine aren’t immediate.

While those who are vaccinated do have protection against the virus within a couple of weeks, full protection against coronavirus may not occur until a couple of weeks after the second shot. Additionally, the Associated Press explains that it is unknown if the vaccines protect people from infection completely or just from symptoms.

According to a Deborah Fuller, a vaccine expert at the University of Washington, that would mean vaccinated people might still be able to get infected and pass the virus on though it would be likely at a much lower rate.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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