NM mobile vaccination clinics reach most vulnerable people in rural areas - Albuquerque Journal

NM mobile vaccination clinics reach most vulnerable people in rural areas

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico is deploying mobile COVID-19 vaccination units to reach the state’s most vulnerable communities, health officials said Wednesday during a video update.

Dr. Laura Parajón, deputy secretary of the state Health Department, said an equitable approach will help New Mexicans who are at the highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death, rural residents and those whose professions place them at high risk of contracting the virus.

“When we talk about equity, it’s about who has been disproportionately affected by COVID, and in New Mexico in many parts of the state, it’s American Indian, Black and Hispanic populations,” Parajón said. “People living in poverty are also disproportionately affected by COVID.”

The DOH worked with the National Guard to administer 200 vaccinations at a mobile vaccination clinic in Columbus on Tuesday.

“We have one four-door pickup truck to put all the stuff in. There’s two vans we put people in. We have PPE; we have radios; we have laptops; we have all the vaccines, six medics and six admin people,” Parajón said.

The southern Luna County town has a large number of elderly residents, and Hispanic and Latino residents.

The state uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social vulnerability index to identify areas with the most residents at high risk for COVID-19 disease or death.

The index analyzes socioeconomic status, household composition, disabilities, minority status and languages spoken, and housing and transportation.

Mobile clinics will provide vaccines to Hatch residents this week, and to the northwest New Mexico town of Blanco next week.

New Mexico had administered 948,668 vaccine doses as of Wednesday. About 35% of state residents have received one dose, and 20% are fully vaccinated.

State Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said 46,595 educators, early childhood professionals and school staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 17,000 people in that group are fully vaccinated.

“New Mexico is the fastest state in the country for vaccination by population,” Collins said.

Collins said New Mexico anticipates receiving more than 98,000 vaccine doses next week, including 2,400 of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“There is no discrepancy between (vaccine) efficacy by race or ethnicity,” she said. “All vaccines are appropriate for all racial and ethnic groups.”

Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase reminded residents that “fully-vaccinated” is defined as two weeks after the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not, if you get new upper respiratory symptoms you should get tested immediately,” Scrase said. “We are constantly monitoring for people getting infected after the vaccine and looking into that. We’re not really off the hook quite yet.”

New Mexico reported 255 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths Wednesday. Doña Ana County reported 77 new cases, and Bernalillo County reported 58.

The 12 people who died ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s.

The Health Department reports that 123 individuals are hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19, and 168,976 people have recovered from the disease.

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