New Mexico rolls out new vaccine for the COVID XBB variant
KSFR reporter Mary Lou Cooper talks with Dr. Miranda Durham, medical director of the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH), about the roll-out of the new XBB COVID vaccine in New Mexico.
This week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, greenlighted a new vaccine specifically targeted to the XBB variants of COVID. Here in New Mexico, the vaccine should be available as early as the week of September 18. The typical way to get the new shot is to make an appointment with a pharmacy. For the insured, their shots should be covered. For the uninsured, the federal government has a “bridge” program so that pharmacies can provide shots and then get reimbursed by the feds. It’s not clear when the “bridge” program will take effect. The state health department also plans to have some mobile clinics.
Following CDC guidelines, DOH recommends that everyone 6 months or older should get the new XBB vaccine. And the department especially urges those who are older or with underlying health issues to get the new XBB shot. With regard to other preventative measures like masks and social distancing, Dr. Durham said that DOH will not issue mandates at this time. That said, the department is a “believer” in masks in certain circumstances.
According to the CDC, COVID hospitalizations (though the numbers are not large) have increased 50 percent in New Mexico in the most recent week. Test positivity stands at 20 percent. However, emergency room visits due to COVID are down.