COVID-19 vaccine not mandated for returning students in the fall

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The New Mexico Department of Health will not require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the new school year.

Currently, the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for people at least 12 years old, but state health officials hope more age groups will be allowed to get the vaccine later in the year.

Dr. Tracie Collins, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, said more steps must be taken before the state could mandate the COVID-19 vaccines for public school students.

"Until we have regular use approval, we can not move in that direction," she said. "And so it won’t be anytime soon from the DOH moving towards requiring the COVID vaccine. We like to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated if they’re eligible."

Collins said the state may revisit the issue after the vaccine receives regular use approval.

"It’s on our radar. We have the team ready to go," Dr. Collins said. "It’s just a matter of understanding once we have the regular use approval, then we can take steps forward."