ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More New Mexicans are getting their COVID-19 booster and it’s creating a big backlog. There was a long line at Expo New Mexico on Tuesday, at the booster site run by the New Mexico Department of Health. People who visited on Monday waited between two to four hours to get their shot with an appointment. They fear it discourages some people to get one.
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“There was this really long line and then people leaving said ‘oh, by the way, the line is even longer when I got here and it took two hours to get through it and so just hearing how long it was a lot of people did start leaving the line and there weren’t really any employees, nobody was checking if you have an appointment, what time your appointment was – there was none of that,” said Ariel Lopez.
“My partner, last night she came and it was real long so she just canceled and made a new appointment for later and I am debating doing that because the line is apparently, there’s more space inside,” said Keith Bloomfield, who was trying to get a booster.
The lines were shorter on Tuesday but it’s clear demand is increasing. People say it’s also much hard to get an appointment at private pharmacies like Walmart and Walgreens and the waits there are more than an hour with an appointment.
According to the state’s COVID dashboard, nearly 335,000 New Mexicans have received a booster. That’s 100,000 more than just 13 days ago, so 20% of the population 18 and up has received it. The state says they have definitely seen a surge in demand since the state opened up the booster to everyone 18 years and older ten days ago. They’re now averaging 71,000 shots a week.
At the height of vaccinations in April, the state reached 140,000 shots a week. The state says it’s working to get new contractors in place so they can ramp up vaccination locations and clinics. The number of clinics was drastically reduced before the boosters were approved.