New Mexico cities prepare for vaccination distribution

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces city officials will be creating a vaccination task force to help coordinate distribution when doses become more widely available, while nearly 300 first responders with Albuquerque's fire and rescue department have received their first shots.

Cities around the state are preparing for distribution while they await more guidance from the state Health Department. Agency officials were expected this week to announce updated plans for which groups will be prioritized once more vaccinations are shipped to the state. The first phase has involved frontline health care workers as well as staff and residents at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said during a briefing Tuesday that the city is supporting the Health Department’s efforts to make sure all residents have access to both testing and the vaccine as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

State health officials on Tuesday reported an additional 1,201 confirmed COVID-19 cases, pushing the statewide total since the pandemic began closer to 150,000. The death toll in New Mexico also neared 2,600 with an additional 20 fatalities reported Tuesday.