Serving the High Plains

About 80 given vaccines in Quay last week

About 80 people in Quay County were administered COVID-19 vaccines last week by local health providers, continuing a general slowdown in vaccination rates in the county and statewide.

However, the administrator of the Quay County Family Health Center in Tucumcari said she likely would plan an event to administer 100 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine it has on hand.

C. Renee Hayoz, administrator for the clinic, said Thursday she wants to have some sort of plan in place soon because those Johnson & Johnson doses expire in mid-June.

The clinic acquired the Johnson & Johnson doses weeks ago, just before federal authorities issued a halt while they investigated extremely rare cases of blood clots from those who received the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration lifted that pause April 23.

After no vaccines were administered there last week, Hayoz said her clinic has 90 doses scheduled this week, mostly boosters for the Moderna vaccine.

The Quay County Public Health Office administered 23 doses of vaccine last week during its weekly event at the Tucumcari Convention Center. The office will give shots at the convention center each Wednesday for an indefinite period.

Trigg Memorial Hospital gave 35 Moderna shots last week. Bestcare Pharmacy in Tucumcari gave about 25 of the Moderna doses, according to its pharmacist, Tom Robinson.

This week, the FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine to children age 12 and up. Last month, children age 16 and up were deemed eligible for the Pfizer shot. However, Trigg is not administering those at this time.

“Due to the cold storage requirements of Pfizer, we are not currently offering this option but continue to gauge interest among 16-17 year-olds so we can do our best to meet their needs,” administrator Vickie Gutierrez wrote in an email.

According to state data, 31.5% of Quay County residents are fully vaccinated and 37.4% have received at least one shot through Friday. The full vaccination rate rose 1.5% in a week. The number of people with one shot rose just 0.5%.

Quay County’s full vaccination percentage is well below the state rate of 47.1% through Friday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants the state’s full vaccination rate to reach 60% by late June. If that occurs, the state would lift its red-to-turquoise COVID-19 framework and reopen its economy.

Hayoz said Quay County’s vaccination rate is low partly because some residents travel to Amarillo for their health care. She said Texas vaccinations for Quay County residents aren’t in New Mexico’s database until those residents inform local health providers about them.

David Morgan, a spokesman for the Department of Health, stated in an email he didn’t know of any state that routinely shares its vaccination data.

“The best way for closing any lag in vaccination numbers among any New Mexico residents who has received their vaccination in Texas is for those residents to register on where they can report where they’ve gotten their vaccinations,” he wrote. “And anyone who got a first dose out of state, can also self schedule their second appointment in state as well. If they chose to get second doses out of state — again registering and reporting that booster information would also be helpful.”

Those who need help with registration also can call 1-855-600-3453 and press 1. Senior citizens or the disabled can call 1-800-432-2080 for assistance.

McKinley County has the state’s highest vaccination rate, at more than 63%. Roosevelt County has the lowest rate, at 23.4%.

A total of 78,000 people were vaccinated in New Mexico in the past seven days through Friday, a drop of at least 20,000 from recent weeks. The number of New Mexicans who had been fully vaccinated rose to more than 790,000.

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