NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The excitement over the COVID-19 vaccine is turning into frustration for some New Mexicans who are being invited to schedule a vaccine appointment, only to find the event is full. Some people said they feel the New Mexico Department of Health may be giving them false hope that they will soon be getting their shot.
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“People talk about the emotional release of being overcome by emotion when they get their vaccine like there’s hope. Well the opposite happens when you dangle it in front of somebody and say sorry too bad so sad can’t have it,” says Patty O’Connor.
Patty O’Connor is one of many New Mexicans who received a vaccine event code on Sunday. However, when she went to the state’s website to sign up, less than five minutes after receiving the code, the event was already full. She says Monday she got another event code and the same thing happened.
So why is this happening? The Department of Health has said previously they “overseed” vaccine clinics, which is the process of sending more vaccine invitations than the number of actual doses on hand. The state says the reason they do that is to keep their appointments full and make sure every dose gets used.
“So for example, at the Pit a couple of weeks ago, when they were doing 1,600 vaccinations a day, there was one day when they had about 100 no shows and they just let us know that, we send out about 120 additional invitations and got all those doses used,” says NMDOH Communications Director Matt Bieber.
O’Connor worries that this way of doing things could encourage more people to travel to neighboring states for their shot. Right now, NMDOH says they have no way of tracking how many New Mexicans have been vaccinated out of state.