NMDOH: COVID-19 vaccines now available for children under 5

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Health has announced that children as young as six months old are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination, following approvals from the FDA and the CDC.

State health officials said pre-ordered doses of Moderna (two-dose primary series) and Pfizer (three-dose primary series) vaccines began arriving at New Mexico clinics Monday. There are reportedly more than 2,200 appointments currently available statewide. To schedule an appointment online, click here.

“After holding our collective breath for more than two years, we are thrilled to reach the milestone of vaccine eligibility for the littlest members of our families! As I’ve often said, vaccinating everyone provides the best defense against serious outcomes related to COVID-19,” NMDOH Acting Cabinet Secretary Dr. David Scrase said. “I am enormously relieved to offer my grandchildren this critical tool, and no doubt join so many others in celebrating this long-awaited day.”

According to the state’s Department of Health, providers, including some pharmacies, are continually signing up and creating additional appointment availability as their requested vaccine allotment arrives.

Approximately 5,000 to 7,500 vaccine doses are expected to arrive by June 27 with “a steady flow to follow.”

“In addition to protecting those in child care and pre-K settings, vaccines for children under age five will also benefit working parents, employers, and child care providers by lessening disruptions caused by classrooms that are forced to shut down due to close contacts,” said Early Childhood Education & Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. 

Changes in this age group’s vaccine roll-out include a shift from pharmacies to providers. While pharmacies performed the majority of COVID-19 vaccinations for the rest of the population, many don’t often serve younger age groups. Additionally, locations vary on which age groups they will vaccinate, with some accepting only children aged three and up. As a result, the NMDOH estimates about 75% of the under-5 vaccines will be given by practitioners or primary care providers.  

Parents and caregivers can register their children or dependents for vaccination by scheduling online at VaccineNM.org and adding them to their own vaccine profile. Parents and caregivers can also call their provider/pharmacy to check for appointments. Vaccinations are free. No identification is required to be vaccinated, and vaccines are available to New Mexicans regardless of immigration status.