ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The deadline to get the state 60% vaccinated to fully reopen is just three days away. Monday, the governor said if the state doesn’t reach the goal, it won’t get rid of the remaining restrictions. So, how close are we and are the incentives working?
The state’s latest push to reach the goal started Monday with anyone getting their second dose or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also get $100 along with it. Some people said they always planned to get the vaccine, but the cash bonus gave them the push they needed.
“Yes it did. Because who wouldn’t want a hundred dollars? But yeah, it did,” said Jerry Padilla, who was getting his vaccine on Sunday.
“I always had intentions to, I just got it sooner because of it,” said Chase, who was getting his vaccine on Monday. Some people who were already getting their scheduled shot said the money was a nice surprise.
“Yes, I’m probably going to go get some lunch or something like that. Free money, why not,” said Lauren, who was getting her vaccine. On Monday, a line to get vaccines formed at the Westside Community Center.
The state won’t know how many people took advantage of the $100 bonus until the end of the day. But, the latest numbers show the state needs to get about 35,000 more people vaccinated to reach 60%. Here’s the challenge: the state is only giving about 2,000 Johnson & Johnson shots and 14,000 booster shots a week. The state said it needs to more than double that pace to fully reopen. But, it is still optimistic.
“It’s really not as heavy as a lift as you think. If we just get double the numbers of people coming out to get their booster doses, that’s huge you know,” said Dr. Laura Parajon, Deputy Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health. “All the sites have been reporting huge increases in the numbers so I’m very confident we will get to the goal on Thursday.”
KRQE asked the governor’s office what will happen if the state doesn’t reach Thursday’s goal. “Certainly our goal has been and remains that we can shed the color-coded restrictions by July 1, making June 17 an important date (as we will need two weeks after reaching 60% for vaccines to take full effect). As you know, all counties are in turquoise for the duration of the color-coding framework, so, for now, we would remain all at turquoise-level requirements until we do reach 60% + two weeks. But I think we are optimistic that we will reach that target this week, especially if New Mexicans help spread the word, we’re very close,” said Tripp Stelnicki, Director of Communications for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The state’s 60% goal only takes into account New Mexicans 16 and older. Federal health officials have said it takes around 70% of the total population to be fully vaccinated for herd immunity. Right now, 49% of the entire state is fully vaccinated.