Home News COVID-19 Situation Vaccinations begin in NM at long-term care sites

Vaccinations begin in NM at long-term care sites

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COVID-19 vaccinations for staff and patients of long-term care facilities in New Mexico’s larger cities will begin today, state officials have announced.

About 15,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been allocated for people at skilled nursing and long-term care facilities. Today and Monday, vaccinations will be given to people working and residing in eight facilities in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. The vaccines will be administered by staff with CVS, Walgreens and Vida pharmacies.

According to a news release from the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department, 3,449 residents at care facilities in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, while 603 have died. The Moderna vaccine is said to protect against contracting the disease or developing symptoms, although it might not prevent a person from being a carrier of COVID and transmitting the disease.

“Sunday marks a monumental day in our fight with this deadly pandemic,” said Aging and Long-Term Services Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez. “It signifies a step toward protecting our seniors and securing their safety.”

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said that standard COVID precautions are still needed.

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“The vaccine is an important step toward ending the pandemic,” she said, “but it’s critical that we all continue COVID-safe practices: wearing masks, washing our hands, distancing and avoiding group gatherings.”

The staff from the pharmacies plan to visit New Mexico facilities three times to deliver two doses of the Moderna vaccine to each person. People exhibiting symptoms will have to wait for 10 days after the onset of symptoms before receiving a vaccination, according to the state announcement.

A question about when vaccinations would start in Roswell long-term facilities was not immediately answered by the Aging and Long-term Services Department representative.

The state news release indicated that New Mexico is now in Phase 1a of its vaccination plan, which involves giving doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to health care workers, as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities. New Mexico officials do not anticipate having enough of the vaccines to move beyond Phase 1a for at least a couple of months. Tribal populations are part of Phase 1a.

People in Phase 1b and Phase 1c would be essential workers identified by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice; at-risk populations such as senior citizens, people with medical conditions that could result in severe complications or death due to COVID; and other groups hit hard by coronavirus infections.

According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices website, essential workers include first responders and correctional workers; agricultural, food and grocery workers; postal workers; manufacturing workers; public transit workers; day care workers and educators.

More information about plans concerning long-term facilities and pre-registration for vaccines is available on the New Mexico Department of Health’s coronavirus website, cv.nmhealth.org.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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