NMDOH answers questions about vaccine registration issues, new federal vaccine guidance | KOB 4

NMDOH answers questions about vaccine registration issues, new federal vaccine guidance

Megan Abundis
Updated: January 12, 2021 10:19 PM
Created: January 12, 2021 09:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There are still many questions about the vaccine launch in New Mexico, which is why KOB 4 took the most common ones straight to the State Health Department to clear up the confusion. 

First, there're questions over federal health officials’ new request for states to begin vaccinating people who are 65 years and older. The new instructions are part of an effort to help speed up vaccine rollouts. 

Health officials in New Mexico have yet to give that new directive the go-ahead. Currently, the state is in vaccine phase 1B, which includes vaccinating New Mexicans who are 75 years and older, anyone 16 years and older with a serious medical condition, certain frontline essential workers, and New Mexicans living or working in large group settings. 

"If the federal government tells us we're going to be getting significantly more in the same timeframes, we will do everything in our power to adjust,” said Matt Bieber, a NMDOH spokesperson. 

Right now, state officials said they’re not receiving enough doses. Every week, the state requests the maximum amount of doses, which is between 20,000 to 40,000 doses. 

"The federal government as I'm sure your viewers have seen, made some pretty ambitious projections about the number of people they can vaccinate and the speed at which they could do it. And they've revised those predictions down several times over the past six months.  So, you know, functionally, we're just in the business of getting as much vaccine as we possibly can and distributing it and getting into the arms of people who want to be vaccinated,” Bieber said.

Many people are also wondering about the state’s vaccine registration site, which has experienced errors with event codes, language mix-ups, and other technical issues. NMDOH officials said they’re aware of the issues. 

"We've put a technical fix in place that prevents the sharing of codes,” Bieber said. 

What about people who are eligible to schedule a vaccine appointment, but can’t because the site said the event is full? NMDOH officials said that’s so vaccines don’t go to waste. 

"And we send out slightly more invitations than there are slots, because we want to be sure that all the slots get filled. Now I know that if you're in the situation of getting an invitation, trying to log in and schedule, and then being told the events full, that's a really disappointing moment, we're very conscious of that. We don't minimize it,” Bieber said.

People can expect another invitation to schedule an appointment if they got phased out. 

Health officials said it’s also important for people to complete their online profile, so they can be properly placed in the queue. 

People who’ve recovered from COVID are still eligible to receive their dose.

Finally, NMDOH added additional staff to its call center to help answer the public’s questions about the process. 

People can call 1-855-600-3453 if they have more questions about the vaccine or the vaccine registration process.

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