Columbus, NM mayor says NMDOH ‘stepped up’ to vaccinate homebound residents


NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The mayor of Columbus who said last week the New Mexico Department of Health was of little to no help in getting homebound residents in his village vaccinated, said that’s all changed now. Homebound people in the village of Columbus are finally getting the attention they need, according to their mayor. “I think it is wonderful,” Mayor Esequiel Salas said.

Salas has been fighting to get NMDOH more involved in the rollout of homebound vaccinations in his village of around 1,600 people. “I am just a servant,” Salas said.

After sharing his story last week, in which he described getting help from NMDOH as a “battle,” he said NMDOH reached out to tell him they wanted to do more.

“They are working very closely with us now, and their interest has stepped up,” Salas said. “They have stepped up to try to meet the needs of the community.”

Over the next two weeks, he and other community leaders are gathering numbers on how many homebound citizens want the vaccine and NMDOH will be coming on April 16 to vaccinate as many of them as possible. “We are just going to try to spread the word through social media, flyers, and word of mouth.”

NMDOH said that they have been steadily pushing to take care of these people and that the results are starting to show. More than a thousand people have been vaccinated at home statewide so far. NMDOH is thanking EMS departments for driving the effort, naming Deming Fire, Las Cruces Fire, Sandoval, and others as examples.

NMDOH said as more Johnson & Johnson vaccines become available, which is the preferred one-shot vaccine for homebound visits, NMDOH will expand its efforts further across the state. “Working as a team, I think we get a lot more done,” Salas said. “I think we will be able to vanquish this giant.”

NMDOH said Taos and Farmington are looking to start homebound vaccines soon once they get more Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

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