Close to 11% of New Mexicans 18 and older are hesitant about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new Vaccination Tracker released this week by the US Census Bureau. The federal agency says the tracker uses data from its Household Pulse Survey, which includes questions about COVID-19 vaccinations and attitudes toward vaccinations. Within that group, 47.8% cite concerns about side effects; 39.1% say they don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines and 37.2% plan to wait and see if the vaccines are safe.

In the US, 15.6% of adults 18 and older are hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the US Census Bureau. In NM, 10.8% are.
In the US, 15.6% of adults 18 and older are hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the US Census Bureau. In NM, 10.8% are.

US Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, referenced the data this morning during the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband’s first hearing, which he chaired. Titled “Shot of Truth: Communicating Trusted Vaccine Information,” the hearing focused on how media is disseminating vaccine safety and COVID-health related information, with a specific emphasis on relaying information to encourage people, particularly those in rural areas and in communities of color, to get vaccinated.

The Census data, Luján noted in his opening remarks, “found that over three million Americans weren’t sure if they would receive the vaccine due to fears of how much it would cost. They’re worried about the cost of a free vaccine. Let me be clear. The vaccine is provided at no cost. It is free. We must do better. A clear and consistent message will save lives.”

Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins testified at the hearing, crediting the state’s high vaccination rate to DOH’s vaccine equity plan and its command structure, which she says includes an “outreach team that keeps close tabs on rumors, misinformation and other vaccine communications challenges from constituencies and communities across New Mexico.” Collins also said the state’s Trusted Voices campaign, featuring 50 New Mexicans “from every walk of life, ethnic and racial background, and professional affiliation” encouraging vaccination had been effective.

“We understand that persuasion is built on trust, and trust is often founded on shared roots and experiences,” Collins said. “These videos—available in multiple languages—allow New Mexicans to address one another about their experiences with the vaccine: to speak their minds and share from the heart.”

Collins also noted the ongoing town halls from the health department, which provide opportunities for residents to ask questions about the vaccine. Future events, she said, will be aimed at younger cohorts, Native American communities, agricultural and rural communities, and the LGBTQ community, among others. The department’s next town hall is at noon on Friday, April 23 on Facebook Live.

The hearing also focused on inequity in communicating accurate information across demographics. Luján said that despite social media companies saying “that all of their content moderation efforts are effective in English, research [has found] Facebook is less than half as effective at labeling misleading content in Spanish than they are in English.”

In response to Luján’s question regarding the long-term impact of inequitable communication, Yonaira Rivera, an assistant professor of communication at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, said “the pandemic has only amplified inequities and discrepancies that exist, and disproportionately effect communities such as the Latino community. This is not new to COVID.”

Hispanics in New Mexico, who have had high rates of COVID-19, also have lower rates of vaccination when compared to Native Americans and Anglos.
Hispanics in New Mexico, who have had high rates of COVID-19, also have lower rates of vaccination when compared to Native Americans and Anglos.

In New Mexico, according to the health department’s vaccine dashboard, Hispanics are behind Anglos and Native Americans in vaccinations, with 37.9% having had at least one shot compared to 48.7% and 44.4%, respectively.

The state’s most recent demographic report on COVID-19 shows Native Americans with an age-adjusted cumulative COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 of 16,410; Hispanics with 8,977 and Anglos at 4,522.

New Mexico health officials today reported 230 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 194,605. The health department has designated 176,031 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County ha 67 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 39 and San Juan County with 33. Santa Fe County had nine new cases.

The state also announced one additional death: a woman in her 90s from Valencia County who was a resident of the Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen. There have now been 3,997 fatalities.

As of today, 118 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, four more than yesterday.*

Currently, 53.7% of New Mexicans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 36.8 % are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 57% have had at least one dose and 36.8 % are fully inoculated.

New cases

  • 67 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 1 new case in Catron County
  • 16 new cases in Chaves County
  • 1 new case in Cibola County
  • 3 new cases in Colfax County
  • 39 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 2 new cases in Eddy County
  • 1 new case in Grant County
  • 2 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 2 new cases in Lea County
  • 2 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 2 new cases in Luna County
  • 5 new cases in McKinley County
  • 10 new cases in Otero County
  • 3 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 19 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 33 new cases in San Juan County
  • 1 new case in San Miguel County
  • 9 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 5 new cases in Socorro County
  • 1 new case in Taos County
  • 1 new case in Torrance County
  • 5 new cases in Valencia County

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs

Statewide cases

According to a health department news release, previously reported numbers included three cases in Bernalillo County that have been identified as duplicates—these have now been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 55,801
  • Catron County: 88
  • Chaves County: 8,798
  • Cibola County: 2,851
  • Colfax County: 735
  • Curry County: 5,056
  • De Baca County: 136
  • Doña Ana County: 24,264
  • Eddy County: 6,717
  • Grant County: 1,668
  • Guadalupe County: 376
  • Harding County: 9
  • Hidalgo County: 359
  • Lea County: 8,259
  • Lincoln County: 1,608
  • Los Alamos County: 508
  • Luna County: 3,265
  • McKinley County: 12,178
  • Mora County: 169
  • Otero County: 3,713
  • Quay County: 428
  • Rio Arriba County: 3,537
  • Roosevelt County: 1,877
  • Sandoval County: 11,650
  • San Juan County: 14,034
  • San Miguel County: 1,330
  • Santa Fe County: 9,968
  • Sierra County: 722
  • Socorro County: 1,283
  • Taos County: 1,638
  • Torrance County: 689
  • Union County: 246
  • Valencia County: 6,535

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 446
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 444
  • Otero County Processing Center: 198
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 47

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 292
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 251
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 762
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 167
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 127
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 472
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 218
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 230
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 230
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 75

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don’t include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.