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1 point short, 1 day to go: A look at NM’s vaccine numbers

Brian Vigil of Las Vegas eats lunch at the Santa Fe Bite restaurant on Wednesday. Breweries and restaurants are now limited to 75% capacity, but they may have the option of operating at 100% two weeks after the state hits its vaccine target. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – With just a day left, New Mexico was exactly 1 percentage point short of its goal of vaccinating 60% of adult residents this week – the target Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set as necessary to reopen the state July 1.

New Mexico could reach the threshold when Thursday’s numbers are released Friday, but it will likely take some rounding up to get there.

To reach an even 60.0%, the state would need another 16,000 vaccinations to be completed in time for Friday’s report.

Just 5,268 vaccinations were added to the total Thursday – less than one-third of what would be necessary to hit the target.

But rounding up is within reach. To hit 59.5% – just a half a percentage point increase – New Mexico would need a little over 7,600 vaccinations to be reported Friday.

The state has exceeded that total in a day, hitting 10,000 at least once over the last week.

The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was available without appointment at a host of Albuquerque locations Thursday.

Anyone who either got the Johnson & Johnson shot Thursday – or the second of the two doses required for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines – was set to receive a $100 cash incentive.

New Mexico’s 60% target for vaccinations applies to residents 16 and older. About 992,000 residents that age had finished their vaccinations, according to Thursday’s report, or about 59.0% of the eligible population.

Residents 12 to 15 are also eligible for vaccines but not counted toward the goal. About 16% of the people in that age group had completed their vaccines.

Lujan Grisham set Thursday as the target for reaching 60% because it would give New Mexico two weeks for the doses to take full effect before the July 1 reopening. Some pandemic restrictions would remain, but the reopening is expected to include the lifting of capacity limits on businesses.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has faced criticism from Republican lawmakers who say she is moving too slow to relax pandemic restrictions.

“Governor, it’s time to admit what we all know – the pandemic is over and it’s time to move on,” Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, said Thursday.

New Mexico’s new COVID-19 cases have plunged as more residents have been vaccinated. The state reported just 106 new cases Thursday, 12 of whom were individuals being held by federal agencies at the Torrance County jail.

The state also reported five more virus-related deaths, pushing the statewide death toll to 4,310 residents.

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