SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – While New Mexico is expecting to receive more COVID-19 vaccine this week than it has normally received in weeks prior, the state’s vaccine dashboard suggests its overall supply is low. Updated Monday afternoon, the New Mexico Department of Health’s online “COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard” indicates the state has fewer than 2,000 doses of vaccine available.
Over the last week, the state says health care providers have administered around 62,000 doses, averaging out to nearly 8,900 doses administered per day. Those numbers have elevated New Mexico among the top three states in the nation for administering vaccines according to the Department of Health.
However, as of Monday afternoon, the state says it has administered 277,141 doses of the total 278,800 doses the state has received. By subtracting the number of doses administered from the number of doses received, data indicates the state had just 1,659 COVID-19 vaccine doses available Monday afternoon.
The apparent low quantity of COVID vaccine doses comes as the University of New Mexico Health continues to pause its large vaccination clinic this week. The clinic at The Pit basketball arena, which has been vaccinating about 1,650 people a day since it began in mid-January, is not expected to open for its normal Tuesday through Saturday operations this week. The UNMH hasn’t set a reopening date for the clinic yet.
An NMDOH spokesman Matt Bieber said Monday the department was unable to do an interview on the topic of vaccine supply Monday. In a written response, Bieber reiterated that the DOH is “not aware” of other providers planning to pause vaccine operations.
“If we end up focusing a little bit more on boosters, that’s not a bad thing at all,” Bieber said in a Friday interview with KRQE News 13 when asked if New Mexico might see changing rates of people receiving “initial doses” versus “booster doses” of the vaccine. “The goal, remember, is to vaccinate New Mexicans fully, and so if devote a little more vaccine to booster doses say in the coming week, what we’re going to see is that New Mexico is going to climb the national rankings when it comes to folks who are fully vaccinated, and that’s the goal.”
NMDOH suggested Friday that the “pause” in vaccination clinic operations at The Pit might be in part due to New Mexico’s own success in doling out vaccines. The state’s vaccination rate continues to be one of the highest in the country according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker.
“We could be vaccinating a lot more New Mexicans,” Bieber said. “The proof is in the pudding, right, the fact that we’re able to get vaccine out so fast is going to help us make a case to the federal government, and hopefully a persuasive one for more vaccines.”
NMDOH confirmed against Monday it is now expecting to receive about 56,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week. That number is about 8,000 doses or 16% higher than shipments in weeks prior.
The state’s dashboard estimates about 213,000 New Mexicans have gotten at least one vaccine shot so far. That’s about 10% of the state’s population.
The following is the full statement:
DOH is not aware of other providers planning to pause operations.
New Mexico is receiving approximately 56,000 doses per week and distributing those doses to an ever-widening network of providers in every corner of the state. As a result of New Mexico’s successful early distribution efforts – we’re getting vaccine into arms faster than 47 states – we’ve learned that our state can handle a far bigger allocation from the federal government, and we’re advocating for it.
That 56K per week – which we’ll be getting this week, as well as each of the next two weeks – represents a 16% increase in allocations to New Mexico. Bottom line: we’ll be doing more total vaccinations.Matt Bieber, Department of Health Communications Director