Official reporting seems to show that New Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccine administration has slowed considerably in the last two weeks, but the state Department of Health is warning that the numbers are incomplete.
A total of 42,367 people in New Mexico had received the virus vaccine as of Tuesday morning, Dr. Laura Parajon, deputy director for the New Mexico Department of Health, said during a media briefing.
That’s out of 106,425 total doses delivered to the state.
Tuesday’s figure reflects just 1,292 more people than the state reported had received the vaccine as of Dec. 27. By then — 13 days after the first doses arrived in New Mexico — 41,075 had been administered, the state said last week.
But a department of health spokesman said Tuesday’s official numbers are inaccurately low.
“Part of the issue is that not all providers are reporting their vaccinations regularly yet,” DOH communications director Matt Bieber said in an email response to Journal questions. “We’re working to get to 100% compliance with this requirement.”
State guidance restricts who can get the vaccine, currently limiting the shots to the highest priority, or “Phase 1A,” groups. That includes hospital personnel who provide direct patient care and support, certain other health providers and medical first responders, nursing home residents and staff, and a few other professions.
Parajon said the state is slated to announce the next eligible groups — categorized as “1B” — on Wednesday.
She noted that more than 250,000 New Mexicans have registered online for the vaccine and that the system sorts residents by priority, notifying people when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment.
New Mexico has now reported 2,594 total COVID-19-related deaths, including 20 new fatalities announced Tuesday.
Half of Tuesday’s reported deaths were residents of the Albuquerque metro area, including nine from Bernalillo County and one from Sandoval County. Chaves and Eddy counties each lost three more residents.
New Mexico reported 1,201 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday. That brings the seven-day average down by two cases to 1,233, according to a Journal analysis.
COVID-19 hospitalizations, meanwhile, jumped about 5% from Monday to Tuesday and now total 740, according to numbers from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office.