SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Every New Mexican should be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in just a few weeks, but will you still have to wait for the New Mexico Department of Health to send you an invitation to get it? The NMDOH says they plan to open up phase two by mid-April, allowing for anyone 16 and older to get the vaccine.
Other states have walk-in clinics for anyone who wants a vaccine, so KRQE News 13 asked if they will do something like that here. “Our intention is to run as many of the vaccinations through the state registration system as we can, just because it’s the most efficient way to do it and it helps us create the best and most accurate record for how far along we are,” said Matt Bieber with the NMDOH. “The goal, overall, is to get vaccine to as many people as quickly as we can and that will always be the guiding principle.”
KRQE News 13 also asked if the state will hold vaccination clinics at places like grocery stores and offices so companies can get all of their employees vaccinated. NMDOH says it’s highly likely most already got their vaccine, qualifying because of age or health conditions, but they will consider options like that.
As of Thursday, nearly 800,000 people are registered through the NMDOH website. They say that as more phases open up, more people tend to register online, but they’re urging folks to do it sooner, rather than later.
“Some young people may be hesitating to register, simply because they haven’t yet been eligible and we want to make very clear that please register now,” said Bieber. “More supply is coming. We know we’re getting increased allocations from the federal government, we can be 99% confident that we can open up to phase two by mid-April or sooner.”
NMDOH says as more people are registered and ready to go, the faster they’ll get an invitation and that first shot. They say more people are also becoming confident with the vaccine than in past months, as they see coworkers, friends and family get the shots with very few issues.
“We’re doing great. Forty-percent of New Mexicans have gotten at least one shot, 25% are fully-vaccinated, we’re on our way,” said Bieber. “I think this summer is going to look a lot like the summer of 2019 where we were outside and hanging out with friends a bit more than it did last year.”
Even as the state opens up to more groups who qualify for the vaccine, they haven’t forgotten about the earlier phased priority groups. They say those who are older and have health conditions will still be prioritized when it comes to getting those first appointments.