Health officials open next phase of vaccinations before finishing earlier phases. Here's why | KOB 4

Health officials open next phase of vaccinations before finishing earlier phases. Here's why

Tommy Lopez
Updated: January 09, 2021 10:31 PM
Created: January 09, 2021 10:17 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State health officials answered more questions about New Mexico’s vaccine rollout Saturday, specifically why some people in latter groups are being vaccinated before people in earlier groups. 

The first doses of the vaccine went to people who fell under the Group 1A classification, which includes health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities. 

On Friday, health care workers started to administer the vaccine to people in Group 1B. That group consists of people who are 75 years old and older, people who are more at risk, and other essential workers like teachers and grocery store staff. 

After that, Group 1C goes next, which includes people who are 60 years old and older, and workers in fields like transportation and utilities. 

Once those people are vaccinated then the rest of the population can start to receive the vaccine.  

According to NMDOH  spokesperson Matt Bieber, “No state is completing all of Phase 1A before moving to Phase 1B. Think of it like a curve: as states begin to vaccinate a critical mass of individuals in one phase – and as demand in that phase begins to decline – it is important to move to the next phase so as to keep vaccination distribution running smoothly."

State officials also mentioned that they don’t want vaccines to go to waste, which can happen if they’re not used fast enough. 

KOB 4 asked NMDOH if hospitals and other groups have already been able to request doses for people working in other industries when people like nurses are still waiting. Beiber said NMDOH is “... finalizing updated guidance that will govern when and how providers are permitted to move 'out of phase' in order to avoid wasting vaccine.”

"Providers are in daily contact with the DOH immunization team on these topics, and the website allows providers to indicate when they have excess vaccine [and how much] so as to facilitate effective distribution,” he added.

In Lea County, leaders have already begun vaccinating people in the latest group, which includes teachers. About 100 teachers have already received the vaccine in Lea County after many health care workers turned down the chance. 

Officials from the state’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department added that all long-term care facilities should have the first dose of the vaccine in the next two weeks.

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