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Vaccination rate ticks up after lottery launch

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spins a wheel to award lottery scratch-off tickets and other prizes to COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Santa Fe in this June 2 file photo. The state’s vaccine administration rate increased slightly in the days after the lottery initiative was announced. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccine administration rate has slightly increased in recent days, after previously declining steadily during a multiweek period.

The increase came in the days after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a $10 million vaccine incentive program funded by federal stimulus dollars that includes a $5 million lottery drawing scheduled for August.

The average number of COVID-19 shots given per day was 1,437 for the week that ended Tuesday – up from an average of 1,352 per day during the previous week, according to state Department of Health data released Wednesday.

The Governor’s Office launched the vaccine lottery on June 1, following the lead of other states like Ohio, Oregon and California that have enacted similar initiatives.

And a total of 372,774 vaccinated New Mexicans had opted into the sweeptstakes as of Wednesday – or roughly 39% of those who are fully vaccinated.

In all, health care workers around New Mexico have now administered more than 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to DOH data.

And nearly 960,000 eligible state residents were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday – or slightly more than 57% of the total eligible population.

Lujan Grisham has said she will eliminate the state’s color-coded system for business restrictions two weeks after the state reaches 60% fully vaccinated mark.

But hitting that threshold has proven difficult, with vaccination rates dropping steadily before the recent uptick.

With the number of vaccinated adults increasing, the number of new COVID-19 cases in New Mexico has hit its lowest rate in roughly nine months.

State health officials announced 94 new cases on Wednesday, while also reporting five additional deaths related to the virus. Those deaths brought the state’s death toll from the pandemic to 4,292 since March 2020.

Overall, roughly 94% of the more than 203,000 New Mexicans with confirmed virus cases have made full recoveries, according to DOH data, a number that could be even higher due to gaps in tracking.


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