Want a vaccine? Sign up on state registry - Albuquerque Journal

Want a vaccine? Sign up on state registry

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Recently released state data shows about 37% of New Mexicans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including about 41,000 registrants who weren’t technically eligible under the state’s current vaccine priority framework.

A revised state Department of Health dashboard pertaining only to the registry states that 60% of New Mexicans receive their vaccines by registering with the state, “while another 40% take place through other providers (local pharmacies, clinics, etc.).”

The state has been urging people for weeks to sign up on its registration system and top officials haven’t mentioned alternatives.

But Matt Bieber, a DOH spokesman, said in a recent DOH social media vaccine update that, “You do not have to be registered with the state to get vaccinated. There are still a couple of dozen providers around the state – local pharmacies and primary care physicians typically that are not partnered with the state – that are doing their own vaccinations. They do their own scheduling, they do their own appointments and then they report to the state immunization system afterward.”

Another 280 or so providers statewide require people to first go through the state’s registration system for a vaccine appointment, state officials have said.

But other providers, including physicians and health care organizations, are booking appointments for their patients and vaccinating people who are eligible under the current guidelines – no state registration required.

Those providers do report to the state Department of Health that they have given the vaccine.

Want a vaccine? Sign up on state registry

One Rio Rancho woman this week gave up on the state registry appointment process and was able to schedule a vaccination in conjunction with a visit to her doctor.

Others have been vaccinated after checking late in the day with area pharmacies to find leftover doses that otherwise would go to waste. Once unfrozen, some vaccines have a limited shelf life.

Bieber in an email response to the Journal this week would not identify those providers operating outside the registry, noting that they handle their own advertising and scheduling.

“We aren’t sharing a list of those providers publicly, in part because it can change (given vaccine availability) and in part because we don’t want the public showing up at locations without appointments,” he said.

If members of the public who want a vaccine “happen to see one (of the providers) in their area, they’re welcome to call,” Bieber said.

Bieber said those providers who are giving vaccines outside the state registration system, but according to eligibility, are performing a valuable service.

“So, it’s a little funky because we’ve got this two-part system,” said Bieber during a social media vaccine presentation last week on Facebook. “I will say it’s a good thing we’ve got this two-part system because, in states that don’t have this registration site, it’s basically a free-for-all.”

Bieber added, “But we understand it creates a little bit of confusion to have this two-track system. To that end, we have just produced a second vaccine dashboard.”

A link to the state’s progress of vaccinating people through its registry now appears on the broader cvvaccine.nmhealth.org website.

That second dashboard lists the various registrant categories according to the state’s phases of vaccination, but also notes that “out of phase vaccinations may take place when vaccine is nearly expiry.”

According to the dashboard, of the 41,000 people who have been vaccinated out of phase – which is allowed if vaccines are in danger of expiring – 11,001 people in the Phase 1B category of front-line essential workers, such as grocery store employees, have had at least one shot. Another 20,420 registrants in the Phase 1C group of those 60 years and older, and other essential workers have had at least one dose, Another 9,343 in the Phase 2 category of 16 and over without health conditions have received at least one shot.

Technically, only those in the 1A group, which covers health care workers and medical first responders, along with three subgroups of 1B, those 75 and older, educators and those with chronic conditions, are eligible. Educators have a high priority this month. The state uses a randomized process to match registrants eligible for a vaccine with an appointment.


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