The New Mexico Health Secretary-designate spoke with reporters on Tuesday about the rollout of the first approved COVID-19 vaccine.
New Mexico will get more than 17,500 doses as part of the first phase of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine distribution.
Dr. Tracie Collins says frontline healthcare workers will be the first to get the vaccine, followed by staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
“The initial shipment of 17,550 doses is being prioritized for frontline healthcare workers in hospital settings, starting with staff that are at high or medium risk for exposure to the virus. As New Mexico receives additional shipments in the coming weeks, we will continue to provide vaccine to frontline healthcare workers, as well as staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The principle here is simple: the first vaccine will go to those who are most at risk to infected people or infectious materials,” said Collins.
Leaders with the state's largest healthcare providers said during a briefing Monday that they're excited about the prospect of vaccinations for medical staff who work with COVID-19 patients and other health care workers who are at high risk.
But they said the vaccinations won't change the way hospitals operate, noting that personal protective equipment and other protocols will remain in place.
Dr. Collins says COVID-safe practices like wearing masks and social distancing are critical for everyone, including those who are vaccinated.
“Even after getting vaccinated, we need everyone to continue to wear masks and follow COVID-safe practices. In the coming weeks and months, we expect additional vaccines to receive approval and additional shipments to arrive, and we will continue to provide regular updates. For now, though, I hope we can all savor this most promising, uplifting moment. For the past nine months, the coronavirus has wreaked havoc across our state, around the country, and throughout the world. As I said at the outset today, we begin to turn the tide…protecting ourselves, our communities, and moving toward a brighter day. This will take many months, and much patience, but we will get there,” said Collins.
Dr. Collins says information is not yet available on future vaccine shipments.