FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – For some New Mexicans, vaccine appointments have been hard to come by. One local mayor says his city is getting more doses than there are people who want it, so now he’s focusing on a first-come, first-served approach. The mayor of Farmington says he believes walk-in clinics will give people who may not want to register online another option that may be more convenient for them.
Places like San Juan County are moving to a new vaccination model, first-come, first-served vaccine clinics. “We have thousands of doses available, and we could get more if we find that the public is interested,” said Nate Duckett, mayor of Farmington.
Duckett says this comes as there is some reluctance for people to register through the state’s online portal for an appointment. “We are trying to entice them to come in and say hey look, you don’t have to register to do it,” Duckett said.
Forty-eight people got doses without appointments Wednesday at a first-come, first-served clinic in Farmington. Duckett says since it was Pfizer, people were required to register once they showed up so they could schedule their second dose. Duckett says there are going to be more walk-in clinics using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine that don’t require any registration. “I think certain individuals prefer the opportunity to walk in, get it done and walk out and not have to be on some list,” Duckett said.
The New Mexico Department of Health says it’s more likely for walk-in events to happen outside of metro areas because, in places like Bernalillo County, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces, there are still some people in earlier phases who have not been vaccinated. In rural areas of the state, early phase demand is more saturated so it is likely we may see more events pop up in rural communities.
“This is the goal to get everybody a dose as quickly as we can. We have been going through the phases in a stringent way because we have a lot more demand than we do supply. That is beginning to change. We are getting more doses. We have vaccinated a huge number of people, so this is the direction we would like to go,” said Matt Bieber, communications director for NMDOH.
The state says there is also a lot of young people who are newly eligible for the vaccine that are not registered so the NMDOH is doing outreach to get them signed up. More than 40% of residents in San Juan County have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Duckett said there will be another walk-in clinic in Farmington next Wednesday. He said people should check the county’s emergency management Facebook page for updates.