How and Where to Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters in New Mexico

Posted on 01/07/22 by Aaron Kassraie, Andrew Soergel

Members Of The Navajo Nation Get COVID-19 Vaccinations

En español | Who is eligible to get a vaccine?

  • Everyone 5 and up


Who's eligible for a booster shot?

Those ages 12 and older who got the Pfizer vaccine should get a booster five months after completing their initial two-shot series, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Moderna vaccine recipients ages 18 and older should get their booster five months after their second shot, and Johnson & Johnson recipients should get a booster dose at least two months after their first shot. The CDC says Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preferable to Johnson & Johnson's due to a rare but serious blood clotting disorder associated with the one-shot vaccine.

Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna, distinct from boosters, are recommended for specific immunocompromised people, including organ transplant recipients and certain cancer patients. These recipients may also get a booster — a fourth dose — at least six months after the third shot, according to CDC guidance. A third Pfizer dose is also recommended for children ages 5 to 11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, 28 days following their second shot.

Can I mix and match boosters?

Yes, it’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster — whether it’s the one you got initially or another vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.

Which vaccine is authorized for kids?

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for children age 5 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Pfizer’s vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds is one-third the dose given to people age 12 and up, and is given in two doses, three weeks apart, according to CDC recommendations. Shots for kids are available at doctors’ offices and certain retail pharmacies. Call your doctor or check pharmacy websites. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months. 

Where can I get a vaccine or booster?

  • Certain retail pharmacies are offering shots and boosters, including Walmart, Sam's Club, Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart, Kroger and Walgreens locations. Note that some pharmacy websites require you to answer questions about your vaccination status before presenting the option for a booster. Many sites let you book appointments for the specific brand of vaccine or booster you prefer, based on availability. Many walk-in appointments are available, no appointment necessary.
  • The federal government’s vaccines websiteVaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccines and boosters by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
  • Using the state's scheduling portal, create a profile by filling out an online registration form at vaccineNM.org. You will receive a confirmation code to access your profile and enter your information. Older adults who need help with scheduling an appointment may call 1-855-600-3453. The state's COVID-19 data dashboard is tracking the number of people who have been vaccinated in the state.
  • Certain hospitals, doctors’ offices and dental offices — and several public health centers — are administering vaccines.
  • New Mexico provides several toll-free COVID-19 related hotlines:
    • Health: 855-600-3453
    • Information: 833-551-0518
    • Senior Food Hotline: 800-432-2080
  • Many transit agencies are offering free or discounted rides to and from vaccination sites.


What should I bring to my vaccine or booster appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, along with your health insurance card, if you have one. You won’t be charged for the initial vaccine series, or a booster shot, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. After your first shot, bring your vaccine card for subsequent shots.  

How are vaccinations working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities?

Most long-term care residents and staff were offered first and second doses through a federal program that provided free on-site vaccinations in late 2020 and early 2021. The program has ended, but the federal government continues to allocate COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to pharmacies that are partnered with long-term care facilities to provide vaccinations, mainly on-site.  

Facilities that don’t have a pharmacy partner are encouraged to work with local or state health departments — or the federal government, if need be — to provide vaccinations. 
 
Most nursing home staff are required to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 as per a federal mandate for staff in health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid dollars. Most assisted living, memory-care and other long-term care facilities are not subject to this mandate, as they are regulated by the states, some of which have their own mandates for workers. 

Which vaccines require two initial doses?

Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot, with a recommended booster two months later.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination? 

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine or a booster. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself.

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

What should I do with my vaccine card?  

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.  

You may need your vaccine card to schedule a third vaccine dose, for certain immunocompromised people, or a booster shot.  You may also need it for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft.

If you’ve lost your vaccine card, call the site where you were vaccinated to request a new one or a copy of your vaccination record. You can also contact your state health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record. 

How protected am I post-vaccination? I’ve heard about breakthrough infections.

All three vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. But no vaccine is 100 percent effective and breakthrough infections, while relatively rare, have been reported.    

The CDC is tracking breakthrough infections and illness and death among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. 

This guide, originally published Jan. 21, 2021, was updated on Jan. 7, 2022, with more information about booster shots.

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This story is provided by AARP New Mexico. Visit the AARP New Mexico page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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