Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Health Secretary-designate Tracie Collins urged New Mexicans to remain patient Wednesday and wait their turn for a COVID-19 vaccine, following “sporadic reports” of people sharing technical codes that allowed them to jump the line and book an appointment for the shot.
As soon as this week, Collins said, the Department of Health will announce who’s next in line to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines. She suggested the priority will be adults 75 and older.
Collins also said the state is tightening its screening procedures to ensure only those eligible for a vaccine – largely health care workers and people at long-term care facilities, at this point – can get the shot.
“It’s time – once again – to think about what is the greater good here,” she said Wednesday, urging people to wait their turn.
Her comments came as New Mexico reported 47 more coronavirus deaths Wednesday – the state’s second-highest daily total of the pandemic. The statewide death toll now stands at 2,641.
In the meantime, Collins said, the best thing people can do is register on the state’s website – cvvaccine.nmhealth.org – to be notified when their vaccine doses are available. A call center will be established this week, she said, to help people without internet access.
Collins said she had received “sporadic reports of people jumping the line by sharing the codes” necessary to book an appointment to get a shot. The state is making a technical fix, she said, to keep it from happening again.
She estimated Wednesday that 62,000 to 68,500 vaccines have been administered in New Mexico, out of 106,525 doses delivered to the state.
Collins said she was providing an estimated number because some of the state’s vaccine providers are still working out how to properly report the doses – a process that should be smoothed out soon, she said.
Even under the lower numbers officially reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Mexico ranks among the top dozen states in vaccines administered per capita.
“We’re really doing well as a state,” Collins said.
The Department of Health, she said, is working a data dashboard that will provide regular reports on vaccine numbers.
As a practicing physician, Collins received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last month. She said she didn’t experience any adverse reactions and isn’t aware of anyone else who has in New Mexico.
The state’s daily report on COVID-19 trends was less positive. New Mexico reported 47 more virus-related deaths, just one below the record of 48, set Dec. 17.
Fifteen of the victims were from Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous county and home to Albuquerque.
Those whose deaths were announced Wednesday were predominantly older adults. Thirty of the 47 were in their 70s or older. The youngest was a man in his 30s.
New Mexico has averaged 29 coronavirus deaths a day over the past week. The rate peaked in mid-December, at 36 fatalities a day.
New infections are also going up. New Mexico’s seven-day rolling average for new COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,258 Wednesday, an increase of 17% since Friday.
The share of tests that come back positive also climbed – to 14% in the state’s most recent seven-day report, up from 12% at one point last week.
The state reported 712 virus hospitalizations, roughly in line with recent days.