On Tuesday (April 13), the New Mexico Department of Health announced it will be "pausing" the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine release.
The decision came after the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration both recommended that states temporarily halt the rollout of the company's vaccine due to concerns over "rare and severe" blood clots.
There have been a total of six occurrences of blood clots in the approximately 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson doses given. All of the cases in the United States were among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms reportedly occurred "6 to 13 days after vaccination."
In a press release from the NMDOH, the administration warned people not to worry, and that the decision to pause the rollout was "out of an abundance of caution," according to NMDOH Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins. "As we learn more, we will share that information," she said. The press release noted that adverse effects are "extremely rare - less that one per million".
New Mexico residents with scheduled Johnson & Johnson shots will be switched to either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines.
The NMDOH urged any resident who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop "severe headache, blurred vision, seizure, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath" within three weeks of getting their shot to contact their doctor.
Schedule your own COVID vaccine appointment
On April 8, the NM Department of Health announced COVID-19 vaccine self-scheduling for New Mexicans 60 years and older who are registered at vaccineNM.org. To do so, users simply log in to vaccineNM.org using their confirmation code and date of birth, choose their location, and then select from available appointments in their area. Event codes for New Mexicans 60+ are no longer required, though they are required for younger populations.
"We are pleased to offer increased scheduling flexibility for our seniors," said DOH Cabinet Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins. "And in the coming weeks, we intend to offer self-scheduling for all New Mexicans 16 years and older."
In the event that a user does not immediately find an available appointment, DOH encourages them to check back again. Providers are continually updating their appointment schedules.
Seniors and those with disabilities can also call 1-800-432-2080 for support with registration and scheduling.
Half of New Mexico is vaccinated
In early April, The NM Department of Health announced a significant milestone in the state's fight against COVID: more than half of New Mexicans 16 years and older have now received at least a first shot, and nearly a third are now fully vaccinated. New Mexico continues to lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
It is unclear yet how a hold on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may disrupt vaccination efforts, but the DOH says New Mexico is still receiving plenty of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.