SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Health Department has announced that going forward, New Mexicans 60 years-old and older with a chronic condition that places them at severe risk of COVID-related health complications will be prioritized for vaccination appointments within the larger group of residents with a chronic health condition.

At this time, there are four groups of New Mexicans who are eligible for the vaccine:

  • Phase 1A (primarily health care workers)
  • New Mexicans 75 years and older
  • Educators, early childhood professionals, and school staff
  • New Mexicans with a chronic health condition

NMDOH states this new prioritization affects New Mexicans in the last of these groups, those with a chronic health condition. According to the department, more than a quarter of the state’s population falls into this category and in order to ensure that vaccines go to those who are most at risk of COVID-related health complications, NMDOH will prioritize vaccine appointments for those 60 and older with a health condition that places them at severe risk.

NMDOH lists the following as conditions that have an increased risk of severe illness:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (BMI 30 or higher but less than or equal to 40)
  • Severe obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 40)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes

The following are conditions that might be at increased risk:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or other use of immune-weakening medicines
  • Liver disease
  • Neurotologic conditions such as dementia
  • Overweight (BMI greater than 25 but less than 30)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (damaged or scarred lung tissue)
  • Thalassemia (type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes