COVID-19 vaccine open to all veterans as New Mexico increases supply


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico announced Friday that all veterans can now get vaccinated against COVID-19. This comes as the state is working to ramp up its efforts to get more people vaccinated faster. New Mexico is expecting an increased supply of vaccine doses next week after the president directed states Thursday to make all adults eligible to get the shot by May 1.

“On our current pace, that wouldn’t be possible. We’d have to get a lot more supply from the federal government to do that, but they seem awfully confident that will be possible,” said Matt Bieber, communications director for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).

The state is ordering more than 93,650 combined doses of Pfizer and Moderna for next week. That is a nearly 6.7% increase from the week before.

New Mexico will also get about 2,400 doses of Johnson & Johnson, and NMDOH said that actually came as a surprise. We received J&J doses last week, but the state was not expecting to get more until later this month because they were anticipating manufacturing delays. NMDOH said that vaccine should help the state move at a much quicker pace because it takes just one dose to be considered fully vaccinated.

“Not only does that get us to full vaccination as a state faster, but it reduces the logistical complexity of scheduling the second dose, making sure the person comes back, making sure there’s a slot available at the appropriate time,” Bieber said.

The federal Veterans Administration Health Care System in New Mexico is now making the vaccine available to all veterans. Veterans need to register with the NMVAHCS for an appointment.

The agency said it will have a vaccination clinic open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Veterans can also call 505-265-1711, extension 2910, 2912, 3915 or 3916 to schedule an appointment. It is a drive-thru clinic so veterans will not need to leave their cars. They will just need to show their ID upon check-in.

To date, federal agencies in New Mexico, like the Veterans Administration, Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Prisons, have gotten more than 216,350 vaccine doses to distribute. On top of federal doses administered, 457,497 New Mexicans have gotten at least one shot. That is more than 27% of the population.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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