SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico health officials say supply has now caught up with demand for COVID-19 vaccines. Looking ahead to when supply could exceed demand, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) says the state does not have any plans for mass storage of surplus doses down the line. The state is only ordering what is needed.
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“If we recognize that providers are not filling appointments, we’re not ordering from the CDC. We’re allowing the CDC to continue to store those vaccines, which will ultimately come to the state,” NMDOH Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said.
So, later when vaccines are approved for children, starting with kids 12 to 15 years old, Dr. Collins said the state will just continue to order doses as needed. However, Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase did point out Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be stored for six months if needed and still work just as well.
KRQE News 13 also asked about the possibility of demand waning before we reach herd immunity.
“The longer it takes for us to get a sufficient number of people vaccinated, the longer it’s gonna take to get things back to normal,” Dr. Scrase said.
He said getting the word out about the importance and safety of the vaccine will help. Dr. Scrase also added that it is still unclear what percentage of people need to be immune. Looking at nursing homes, Dr. Scrase said New Mexico has seen that with more than 70% of residents vaccinated, cases of COVID have not dropped down to zero, but it has reduced COVID deaths by more than 95%.
Dr. Scrase said that while we do not yet know what the magic number is to reach herd immunity, we could be the first state in the U.S. to find out because of how quickly New Mexicans are getting their shots compared to the rest of the country. Right now, the state is averaging about 15,000 vaccine shots a day. That is down a couple thousand from what we had been seeing recently.