Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The percentage of New Mexico adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19 inched closer to 70% on Friday, with the state’s vaccine administration rate having ticked up in recent days.
In all, 79.2% of New Mexico residents age 18 and older had received at least one vaccine dose, while 69.5% of adults had gotten all shots necessary to be fully vaccinated against the virus, according to state Department of Health data.
The increase in the state’s vaccine numbers comes after the imposition of a vaccine mandate for New Mexico hospital workers, corrections officers and others employed in group home settings.
State government employees and teachers are also required to either get the vaccine or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing under a state public health order revised this week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration.
While the vaccine mandates have prompted protests and been targeted by a court challenge, state Department of Health data indicates the overwhelming majority of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks are unvaccinated individuals.
In addition, a total of 88.4% of those hospitalized during a four-week period ending this week were not vaccinated and nearly 98% of those who died of COVID-19 during that time period – or 120 out of 123 deaths – were unvaccinated, a top state health official said this week.
After surging for most of the last month due to the highly contagious delta variant of COVID, the number of new confirmed virus cases across New Mexico has gradually declined over the past week.
State health officials reported 762 new cases on Friday – up slightly from the average of 614 new cases per day over the past week. But that figure was down from an average of nearly 778 new confirmed cases per day the previous week.
Meanwhile, there were 354 individuals hospitalized around New Mexico due to the virus as of Friday – down from 370 people hospitalized a week earlier.
Health officials also reported 13 additional deaths related to COVID-19, which increased the state’s death toll to 4,675 since the pandemic hit New Mexico in March 2020.
Most of those who have died due to the virus have been elderly residents with underlying health conditions, though the deaths reported Friday included a man in his 40s from Bernalillo County.