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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday signed an executive order expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all New Mexico adults as part of the state’s strategy to address rising case numbers and hospitalizations, a trend being seen nationwide.
“As we have throughout this unpredictable and unprecedented global pandemic, we always stand ready to quickly implement new tools and policies in our fight against this terrible disease,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I strongly encourage every New Mexican to register for a booster today – we have appointments available and are ready to get shots in arms.”
The Centers for Disease Control’s eligibility criteria for boosters include adults 18+ who live or work in a high-risk setting.
New Mexico joins other states – including California and Colorado – that have made boosters available to all adults 18+.
“Case counts are significant, spread rates are far too high, and the Delta variant is far more transmissible than previous variants. In addition, our hospitals are well beyond capacity, and several have declared Crisis Standards of Care,” said Department of Health Acting Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. “Those factors absolutely make New Mexico a high-risk setting.”
New Mexicans aged 18 and over may now schedule a booster shot if:
"Providing boosters for adults will significantly increase levels of immunity protection across our state – and that’s essential for all of us. COVID-19 is incredibly opportunistic – and it’s our job to ensure that the virus has fewer and fewer opportunities to spread,” said Secretary Scrase. “If it’s time for you to get a booster, please do so right away.”
While the vaccines remain highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, new data suggests that immunity protection can wane over time – leading to more vaccine breakthrough cases. As immunity protection wanes, the immunized become more susceptible to infection – though their infections are typically much milder than those among unvaccinated individuals.
Health officials also strongly recommend that children 5-17 receive vaccinations.
MASK REQUIREMENT EXTENDED
The statewide requirement that face masks be worn in all indoor public spaces, with only limited exceptions and regardless of vaccination status, will also be extended, effective through at least December 10.
Staffed hospital beds remain in dangerously short supply, as primarily unvaccinated individuals continue to spread a more infectious variant of the virus, and several New Mexico hospitals have implemented crisis standards of care.
Health officials, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to recommend tight-fitting face masks be worn in indoor spaces as they are effective in limiting the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
The state reported 21 new COVID-19 fatalities over the two-day period of Thursday, November 11 and Friday, November 12. During the same two-day period, the state reported 3,524 new cases, a daily average of 1,762 cases. To date, more than 5,100 New Mexicans have been killed by the virus.
The governor, acting upon the counsel and analysis of the state Medical Advisory Team and state health officials, may decide to extend or lift the mask requirement as necessary.
A separate public health order – requiring health care workers to be vaccinated and implementing vaccinate-or-test protocols for school workers – remains in place.
The executive order expanding booster eligibility is attached to this release, as is the operative emergency public health order, issued by Acting Health Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D.
The Department of Health also advises all New Mexicans aged 6 months and older to get a flu shot; many providers of the COVID-19 vaccine also provide a flu shot.