NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico counties lead the country in vaccine distribution and a new “phase dashboard” shows exactly what counties are making the most progress and which are lagging behind. All but one of New Mexico’s 33 counties now have, at least, 20% of their population partially vaccinated and while some counties are much further along than others, the New Mexico Department of Health says the system is fair and the discrepancies make sense.
“There’s a bunch of other variables too, if you think about who’s eligible for the vaccine, think about seniors, for example, seniors are not distributed equally in every county. There’s some counties that have lots of seniors and others that have fewer,” said Matt Bieber, NMDOH spokesperson.
The new “phase dashboard” lets you look at hyper-specific vaccine data. By county, it shows you exactly how many people have or have scheduled for a vaccine and what phase they are in. For example, in Bernalillo County, 14,000 of 21,000 registered educators already have at least one shot. Santa Fe and Sandoval counties have just about 1,000 registered educators left to vaccinate.
Looking at counties as a whole, every county except Torrance County has at least 20% of its population partially vaccinated. Sixteen counties are in the 20% range, 14 are in the 30% category and two have more than 40% of their populations vaccinated. Guadalupe County is leading the pack at 47.7%, but they are also the only red-level county right now.
Bieber says this is something every county should be cautious of until we get higher vaccination numbers. “Until we get to a place where vaccination rates are really high, 70%, 80%, 90% you’re still going to have situations where it’s possible to have both a high level of vaccinations in the county and a high level of positivity just because among the unvaccinated population; if there’s a lot of spread or people aren’t being as careful as they could be with regard to COVID-safe practice. You can just have high numbers in both of those categories. That just gets less likely over time as we get more vaccinations,” Bieber said.
New Mexico is expecting even more vaccine doses next week to meet the president’s goal of making all adults eligible to get a shot by May 1. The state will get its biggest shipment yet of 93,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna. The state is also getting a surprise shipment of 2,400 Johnson & Johnson shots, the state originally wasn’t expecting more until April.
NMDOH says 40% of vaccinations don’t come through the portal so the number of New Mexicans who are vaccinated is higher than that.