SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced all K-12 educators, early childhood professionals and staff are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The state said the group of educators will be able to get their first shot by the end of March.
NMDOH said it will offer vaccinations over about a three-week period as follows:
- Week 1 (starting March 8): Educators and early childhood professionals outside the Albuquerque metro area
- Week 2 (starting March 15): Educators and early childhood professionals within the Albuquerque metro area, likely at a mass vaccination site
- Week 3 (starting March 22): Educators and early childhood professionals who register for vaccine in the interim or who have not yet been vaccinated
The president of the American Federation of Teachers in New Mexico said educators are relieved and excited about the news. “We’re thankful. I think the uncertainty that our educators had before this announcement today was really scary,” Stephanie Ly said.
The state said 53,805 educators are registered on the state’s vaccine portal. Their data shows 22,944 educators have already gotten at least one shot while 11,616 are fully vaccinated. The president of the National Education Association in New Mexico said she and her husband just got their first shot within the last few days. “It was so thrilling and exciting because it’s been a tough year. You know, it’s been almost one year to the day,” said Mary Parr-Sanchez, president of NEA New Mexico.
While the state pushes to get teachers vaccinated, it is also still finishing up shots for New Mexicans 75 and older and for those with serious health conditions. In total, more than 14% of New Mexicans are fully vaccinated. More than 25% of the state’s population, or about 423,512 people, have gotten at least one shot.
The numbers above are strictly from shots the state has given out. The actual number of New Mexicans with one at least shot could easily top 500,000, based on the number of doses received by federal organizations here in New Mexico, like the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service.