Serving the High Plains

Vaccine events get shots to nearly 270

Two events in Tucumcari last week helped get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of nearly 270 residents as more than one-third of New Mexicans were fully vaccinated against the disease.

In addition to the weekly vaccination event each Wednesday hosted by the Quay County Public Health Office, the Quay County Family Health Center also held its own vaccination event Friday, also at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Dozens of people had lined up for a Moderna shot well before the convention center's doors opened at 9 a.m. Friday.

C. Renee Hayoz, administrator of the health center, said 155 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered during the special event Friday.

Hayoz's clinic in Tucumcari had planned to host another vaccination event Thursday using 100 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday morning ordered an immediate pause in administering that vaccine because of extremely rare but potentially fatal side effect involving blood clots.

Hayoz also said during the Quay County Commission's meeting Monday that her clinic would begin using the federal stock of vaccines instead of the state's stock.

Commission Chairman Franklin McCasland said he wished to extend his gratitude to her clinic's team for being "a leader" in distributing the vaccine. Hayoz received a spontaneous round of applause from about 15 people in the commission's chambers after her monthly report.

A total of 69 doses of vaccines were administered during the other event Wednesday by the public health office.

Gwynne Draper, manager of clinical and support services at Trigg Memorial Hospital in Tucumcari, reported 45 Moderna doses were administered last week, with 40 more scheduled for this week.

Through Friday, an estimated 33.6% of Quay County residents, or nearly 2,300, had received at least one shot, and 26% were fully vaccinated.

The The state's Department of Health continued to encourage New Mexico residents to register for the vaccine at

New Mexicans age 60 and older can schedule their own vaccine appointments. To do so, users log in to using their confirmation code and date of birth, choose their location, then select from available appointments in their area.

Event codes for New Mexicans age 60 and are no longer are required, though they are required for younger populations.

If a user does not immediately find an appointment, the agency is encouraging them to check back again. Providers are continually updating appointment schedules.

Senior citizens and those with disabilities also can call 1-800-432-2080 for help with registration and scheduling.

The agency on Thursday announced one third of New Mexico resident age 16 and over were fully vaccinated. The previous day, more than 50% of those residents had received at least one shot.

Health Secretary Tracie Collins said during a briefing Wednesday that New Mexico ranked No. 1 in the country in vaccine distribution.

Human Services Secretary David Scrase said the state has not held any discussions about vaccine passports. Noting an exponential increase in counties in the turquoise zone - the best achievable - for COVID-19 risk, he said the state's health agencies are focused on building vaccination rates.

"The goal is to get people to turquoise and keep them there," he said.

Pressed by a reporter, Scrase surmised the state might drop its red-to-green county assessments by late May or early June if vaccination rates were high enough.

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