Home News COVID-19 Situation State plans vaccine call-in registration

State plans vaccine call-in registration

Dr. Tracie Collins says New Mexico is "doing well as a state" administering the COVID-19 vaccine doses it has been supplied. (Submitted Photo)

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Collins says more than 48,000 vaccines given

The state plans to introduce a call-in line by the end of the week to make it easier for people to register for COVID-19 vaccinations and as a supplement for the current online registration site.

Dr. Tracie Collins, secretary-designate of the New Mexico Department of Health, discussed how the vaccination process has been going in New Mexico during a Wednesday livestreamed press conference.

“According to the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), New Mexico has one of the highest administration rates in the country,” Collins said. “We are really doing well as a state.”

According to the CDC, New Mexico is among 12 U.S. states with the highest vaccination rates so far of 2,000 people or more per 100,000 population.

Collins said that New Mexico has received 106,525 vaccines. The New Mexico State Immunization Information System (NMSIIS) indicates that at least 48,299 vaccines have been given, primarily to hospital staff and other front-line health care workers.

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But only 74% of the state’s health care providers are reporting into the NMSIIS database at the moment. If all providers were reporting through that system, New Mexico probably would have somewhere between 62,000 and 68,500 vaccines given, Collins said.

Information about vaccinations in Chaves County were not available from either state or local officials. But prior interviews have indicated that the region was expecting about 17,000 doses initially. Vaccinations began here in mid-December among hospital workers and started earlier this week among residents and staff of a few skilled nursing centers.

According to an Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Facebook announcement, some of its staff who are first responders or faculty of emergency response programs also have received vaccinations. Matt Bieber, communications director with the New Mexico Health Department, said that providers and pharmacies can go beyond the population boundaries under limited circumstances, such as when vaccine doses that need to be kept frozen or refrigerated might spoil unless they are used.

Right now, people can register for the vaccinations at cvvaccine.nmhealth.org and about 300,000 state residents have done that during the past two weeks. But Collins said that the state will introduce a phone line later this week to register people or assist them with registration should they not have internet access or have difficulty with the computer system.

“Users will receive notification when vaccines are available at nearby locations,” she said.

She added that health care providers are also being added to the NMSIIS application because the state is aiming to have 100% reporting of vaccination data.

She also said that the Health Department plans to develop a public data dashboard about vaccinations once the data collections and reporting process has been fully developed.

Collins was asked about reports of “line jumping” for vaccinations that apparently has occurred in some places of the state because people were able to use someone else’s vaccination registration code. She said the state has corrected for that error so that each person receives a unique code specific to that person and that vaccination appointment.

She said the state is in good shape to provide the second shots recommended by both Pfizer and Moderna, with Pfizers’ booster shot ideally given 21 days after the first shot and Moderna’s 28 days later.

She declined to specify when the state will begin vaccinations beyond the current Phase 1a group of health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff. But she said that information about those plans would be released soon.

“We really want to get this right the first time,” she said.

According to data updated Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 17.29 million vaccinations distributed in the United States and 5.3 million vaccinations administered. Of those, 3.4 million have been distributed to pharmacies holding the vaccination clinics for long-term care facilities, and 511,635 vaccines have been given to residents and staff of those facilities.

The president of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living said the group has heard from some members seeking clarification about the vaccination plans, but that overall he thinks the process has gone well.

“As of right now, we are not aware of widespread issues or delays with this vaccine rollout, and if there were, we would be among the first to sound the alarm,” said Mark Parkinson. “We continue to assist a minority of member providers who come to us looking for assistance or clarity, but the majority of providers tell us that their clinics have been scheduled or have already occurred and that overall, the program is running smoothly.”

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