New Mexico Extends COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Eligibility to All Adults

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Nov. 12 extending the eligibility of COVID-19 boosters to all adults in New Mexico.

Effective from Nov. 14, the order (pdf) says that all adults over 18 years of age can now receive vaccination boosters two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or six months after completing the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series.

“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,” Grisham said in a statement. “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 and Prevention (CDC) on Oct. 21 had broadened the eligibility of those that qualify for a booster shot to include adults 65 years and above; those who live in long-term care settings; those with underlying medical conditions; and those working or living in high-risk settings.

In a media release, the CDC stated individuals could “mix and match” booster shots such that those that have completed the Pfizer-BioNTech series may receive a differently branded vaccine booster after six months.

Even though the CDC stopped short of recommending vaccination boosters for all adults, following its announcement, both California and Colorado expanded booster eligibility guidelines to include all adults.

Colorado Director of Public Health Jill Hunsaker Ryan on Oct. 31 passed an order requiring vaccine providers to “accept any individual seeking an additional or booster” vaccine even if they have not administered the primary vaccine series to the patient.

The order also asked that vaccine providers vaccinate “any individual who self-attests that they meet the eligibility criteria for a COVID-19 vaccine, including any additional or booster COVID-19 dose, authorized by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] and recommended by the CDC.”

Regarding the Colorado order that appeared at odds with FDA and CDC guidelines, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the order “isn’t currently the guidance that’s being projected by our health and medical experts.”

“We would certainly continue to advise leaders across the country to abide by public health guidelines coming from the federal government,” Psaki added.

The California Department of Public Health released a letter on Nov. 9 instructing health providers not to “turn a patient away who is requesting a booster” if the patient is over 18 years of age and thinks that they are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Health providers were also asked to “proactively” reach out to patients over 65 years of age, have underlying medical conditions, or have received the single-dose J&J vaccine.

According to Reuters, Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday requested that the FDA approve booster doses of their COVID-19 vaccine in all adults after trials reportedly showed that a booster dose was 95.6 percent effective against the virus compared to a vaccinated group that did not get the third shot.