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According to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, it looks like McKinley County has a 100% of residents 16 and above who have at least one COVID shot. That number doesn’t seem right, and McKinley County officials agree.
“So we were doing a pretty informal tracking, the McKinley County Office of Emergency Management with our partners in conjunction with our weekly coordination calls we were doing just have a rough idea of where we’re at with our vaccine numbers, because we felt there was some discrepancies early-on with some of the state numbers, so we started to do an internal track,” said Adam Berry of the McKinley County Emergency Management Department.
McKinley County was one of the hardest-hit places in New Mexico during the pandemic. Health officials including the US Marshals, did everything they could to get the vaccine out in Gallup and the Navajo Nation quickly.
McKinley County stopped doing vaccinations tallies in May and then left it up to the state. According to the state, there is a huge margin of error when it comes to distributing the vaccine because of the number of providers there are.
There was a mix-up between the state and the federal government leading to the 100% number. “Somehow the feds and the state were double-counting those inoculations and then getting it to 100%,” Sen. George Munoz said.
For those who actually live in the county though, they feel like most of the people they know are vaccinated. “As far as I know, mostly everybody around that we know, I know that because they always show their card or say ‘I’m vaccinated,'” a Gallup resident said.
Right now, in the county, there are still available vaccine clinics at Walmart, Walgreens, and IHS as well. Sen. Munoz wants to make sure everyone gets vaccinated and doesn’t believe the numbers.
KRQE News 13 asked the New Mexico Department of Health how they got the 100%. A spokesperson for the department said they’re dealing with the challenge of collecting age-specific data and are trying to get more precise information from their federal partners. Sen. Munoz said he does not know the real number of people in McKinley County who have one shot.