New Mexico is anticipating its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the state Monday. Those doses will be stored in ultra-low temperature freezers at six facilities across the state before going to hospitals.
The amount of doses hospitals will receive depends on how many workers are employed, and how many doses the staff can confidently administer in five days—which is the window of time to give the shot once it’s thawed.
Representatives from Presbyterian said they’re looking to begin vaccinations Tuesday, and officials from Lovelace said they’ll start Wednesday. UNM Hospital did not give a specific day for when they will begin vaccinations. Instead, a spokesperson sent the following statement:
"UNM Health continues to work with the state on distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Consistent with federal and state direction, we are preparing to vaccinate our frontline health care workers who are directly in contact with suspected or confirmed COVID patients. At this time we do not have more details to release. We appreciate the public continuing to do their part to reduce the spread by wearing a mask, staying socially distant and rethinking their holiday traditions to ensure they are COVID safe."
The incoming 17,000 COVID-19 vaccines will not be the end all, be all solution for the pandemic. State health leader said social distancing and mask-wearing will still continue until more people can get the vaccine.
"If we can just begin immunizing people and decreasing the side effects of this COVID virus and allow us to get back to life a little bit, I think it's going to make a big impact,” Cole said.
Health leaders said this vaccine is as safe as vaccines tend to be, which is why it received the green light from the FDA.
Amid the vaccine good news, there have also been fewer COVID-19 patients in hospitals recently, but health leaders said people should remain vigilant since they’re unsure what Christmas could bring.