NMDOH: Focus is on booster shots, COVID-19 cases declining

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a COVID-19 update Wednesday, New Mexico Department of Health officials said the booster shot is coming for many New Mexicans and it appears the Delta surge is winding down.

The Pfizer booster shot is only for people who initially received the Pfizer shot at least six months ago. First up are people 65 and older, people in long-term health care facilities or people older than 50 with pre-existing conditions.

There is also an additional dose – different from a booster – for Moderna and Pfizer shots, but that is only for immunocompromised people.

State health officials said they are focusing on getting booster shots in the arms of the most vulnerable over the next two weeks. Then, attention will turn to the newest population awaiting COVID-19 vaccine approval – children age five to 11.

"So we’re hoping that actually, people are thinking by Halloween we might have vaccines for kids, which is very exciting," said Laura Parajon, the NMDOH deputy secretary. "We’re awaiting on word for Moderna and J&J boosters."

70.5% of New Mexico adults are vaccinated. State officials are feeling encouraged to see the case numbers starting to fall again and hospitalizations are down.

However, hospitals are still stressed, and there are still more than 500,000 New Mexicans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID.

"We’re still skirting that line just below crisis standards of care," said NMDOH Acting Secretary Dr. David Scrase. "One early sign of potential relief is our number of patients in the hospital today with COVID dropped to 287 total. That’s a low for the past six weeks or so."