ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico is moving ahead with COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanding eligibility on Friday to people 75 and older as well as residents with underlying medical conditions that place them at greater risk.
The expanded list under what is known as Phase 1B of the distribution plan also includes front-line essential workers who can’t work remotely and vulnerable populations. Shots also are still being given to health care workers, first responders and staff and residents at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins called the vaccination effort critical, saying she was pleased to move to the next stage.
State officials said earlier this week that New Mexico is among the leading states when it comes to vaccination rates. They estimated that between 62,000 to 68,500 vaccines had been administered in New Mexico from a supply of more than 106,000 doses. Updated numbers were expected Monday.
The latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 133,000 doses have been delivered to the state.
Under the updated vaccination plan released Friday, state officials acknowledged that the number of people now eligible to be inoculated is much larger than the available supply so the groups are being prioritized. For example, front-line essential workers will be vaccinated in order from family home caregivers and child care workers, followed by teachers involved in in-person learning to grocery store workers, agriculture workers, public transit workers and others.
The next phase will cover people 60 and older as well as other essential workers who cannot work remotely.
The final phase will include everyone older than 16.
How fast the state moves through the phases will depend on vaccine availability, officials said.
Officials on Friday reiterated their call for people to register on the state’s vaccination webpage so the rollout can be managed and appointments can be scheduled. Some people have reported having to wait in line for their shots, while others say they have yet to get information about their booster shots.
The state is requiring workers in each category to verify their employment and those with qualifying medical conditions also are expected to provide validation. That could include a note from a provider, hospital discharge paperwork or even a prescription bottle.