Home News COVID-19 Situation Officials hoping to boost vaccination rates

Officials hoping to boost vaccination rates

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In this April 20 file photo, medical workers and volunteers administer the coronavirus vaccine at a drive-thru immunization clinic at an inn and RV park in Mora. New Mexico is the latest state to offer cash lottery prizes in a bid to increase vaccination rates. Vaccinated residents who register on the state’s new “Vax 2 the Max” portal can win up to $5,000,000 in cash, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Monday. (AP Photo)

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ENMU-R, health department to host local vaccination event

Southeast New Mexico lags behind most of the state in COVID-19 vaccination rates, so health officials hope a vaccination event Thursday in Roswell and cash prizes from the New Mexico Department of Health will help improve the numbers.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the NMDOH vaccine dashboard showed 35.6% of those age 16 and older in Chaves County are fully vaccinated. Of the other seven counties in the department of health’s southeast region, Lincoln County has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated at 47.7%, followed by De Baca at 41.5% and Lea and Quay counties at 36.1%. Curry and Eddy counties are both at about 33% and Roosevelt is at 26.7%.

Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and NMDOH will have a vaccination event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at the ENMU-R Physical Education Center on campus, 52 B University Boulevard. The parking lot can be accessed on the west side of the PE Center from Martin Street. Directional signs will be posted.

Those planning to receive the vaccine at the event must register at cvvaccine.nmhealth.org by choosing the ENMU-R location, or by calling 1-855-600-3453, option 3. No event code is needed.

Carol Larez, director of nursing services for the NMDOH southeast region, said the event is intended to help people who have not been able to schedule a vaccination appointment because of their work schedules or other reasons.

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“Being out here at the Roswell Industrial Air Center, that will open it up for people who are working out there as well as those folks who live out there and maybe have transportation issues,” she said.

Larez said the health department does believe there is some hesitancy among people in southeast New Mexico to get the vaccine, but stressed it’s an important public health issue.

“We know that vaccines, for preventable diseases, is one of the most important things that public health can do,” she said.

To give New Mexicans an incentive to get COVID-19 vaccines, the state has created a sweepstakes with prize money and other awards. A press release from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, NMDOH and the New Mexico Lottery on Tuesday announced the “Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes.”

New Mexicans who have registered at vaccinenm.org, received at least one vaccination dose and opted into the sweepstakes will be eligible for five weekly drawings beginning in the middle of June, according to the press release.

Each weekly drawing will award $250,000 to a winner from each of the state’s four public health regions, for a total of $1 million each week. A grand prize of $5 million will be awarded at the conclusion of the sweepstakes in early August.

Other prizes will be available beginning next week for New Mexicans receiving vaccinations through providers who have partnered with the NMDOH registration system. Prizes to be awarded at random include in-state travel packages ranging in value from $600 to $1,000, fishing and hunting licenses, and day-use passes for state parks and state museums and cultural sites.

The New Mexico Lottery will also take 10 prize wheels to providers throughout the state for other prize opportunities, such as lottery tickets, for those receiving a vaccination, according to the press release.

More information and rules for the sweepstakes can be found at vax2themax.org. Funding for the sweepstakes is from the state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act, according to the press release.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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

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