SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Health and Human Services secretaries are sharing a positive take on New Mexico’s latest COVID-outlook. State data shows vaccinations and the number of available doses continue to increase, while the weekly average of new COVID-19 cases is decreasing.
At a news conference Wednesday, the New Mexico Department of Health said it’s expecting another increase in the amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses next week on top of an increased shipment this week. The state received 56,000 doses this week, an increase of roughly 16%.
Next week, the state is expecting to receive 59,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, a roughly 6% increase over this week’s shipment. DOH Secretary-Designee Dr. Tracie Collins said Wednesday the boost is “nice,” but the state “could always use more.”
“We have 800,000 people currently that are trying to get vaccinated, so if you do the math, that’s several months out to get those folks vaccinated,” Dr. Collins said. “So definitely, we want more.”
The Department of Health now says nearly 9,000 people are getting COVID-vaccine shots each day. Collins said Wednesday the pace is about double the rate of vaccinations the state saw about three weeks ago.
As of February 3, there have been 316,150 vaccines delivered to New Mexico and 291,742 vaccines administered. With 67,106-second doses administered, 3.2% of the state is now fully vaccinated. New Mexico has the fourth-highest vaccine administration rate among all states in the country.
As the state continues working its way through phase 1B of the vaccination schedule, DOH is also providing a breakdown of the number of people eligible for vaccination, by group. From phase 1A, residents at long-term care facilities account for an estimated 20,707 people eligible for vaccination. Healthcare workers account for an estimated 138,000 people.
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Within phase 1B, people age 75 and older account for an estimated 151,653 people. The largest group – people over the age of 16 with comorbidities, they account for an estimated 590,472 people.
The state says over 10 percent of New Mexico’s population has now received at least one shot, while about three percent of the state is fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the 7-day average of cases has dropped to 584 cases a day. number is the lowest it’s been since October 2020.
“Vaccinating 9000 (a week,) only 584 cases a day (on average,) I’m not good at sports analogies, but this feels like the beginning of a fourth quarter comeback,” said Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the Department of Human Services. “The state and all the work that Secretary Collins has done is just superb in getting this vaccine out to the public, it’s really starting to payoff.”
KRQE News 13 asked Wednesday if the state anticipates continuing to receive more vaccine, or if the nearly 60,000 weekly doses might be all New Mexico receives each week until there’s another vaccine available. DOH Secretary Dr. Collins said the Biden Administration is doing a better job of “looking at the needs” of the state, but she didn’t forecast if further supply increases could head to New Mexico.
The state also isn’t forecasting when teachers and other educators might be able to get vaccinated. Secretary Collins reiterated Wednesday the state is focusing on other vulnerable groups first.
NMDOH reminds residents that the state remains in the initial subgroups of Phase 1B of the vaccinations. The following are eligible for the 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
During a remote news conference with the cabinet secretaries on January 25, it was reported that New Mexico had the third-highest vaccine administration rate among all states in the country. However, while the state is expecting to receive more COVID-19 vaccines this week, Monday the New Mexico Department of Health’s online “COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard” indicated the state’s overall supply is low with fewer than 2,000 doses of vaccine available.