At a virtual pandemic briefing, she said the definition of “fully vaccinated” changing to three shots would reflect concerns that COVID-19 vaccines start losing their effectiveness after about six months.
Lujan Grisham, who is running for reelection, echoed sentiments she expressed several days ago that all adults in New Mexico should get a booster shot.
“We know vaccinations are the most effective tool to both blunting the spread of the virus and to protecting ourself and our families,” she said. “So we are analyzing what we can do to create those incentives—and potentially mandates—for making sure that people are fully vaccinated, which means three vaccines.”
She blamed the unvaccinated for the ongoing pandemic but also acknowledged that the vaccinated can also contract and spread the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. She said those who are vaccinated often have only mild symptoms and don’t end up in the hospital.
She suggested that people who were vaccinated early—having received their last COVID-19 vaccine six or more months ago—may be responsible for the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, which reported 1,530 new infections on Wednesday.
New Mexico Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, during the same briefing, said discussions are underway about changing the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated and that he expects a new public health order in the coming weeks.
Booster doses of all three vaccine types—Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson—have been cleared for use in the United States.
Nearly 74 percent of New Mexico adults are considered fully vaccinated under the current definition of two doses of the mRNA vaccines—Pfizer and Moderna—and one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In the past week, more states have moved to endorse COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, bringing the total to at least seven states nationwide: Arkansas, California, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and West Virginia.
Such an endorsement has not been reflected in federal policy. Current recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say anyone 65 or older who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago “should receive a booster shot.”
However, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has suggested the definition of fully vaccinated may change in the future.
Meanwhile, those aged 18 or older, “may receive a booster shot” at least six months after completing the primary series of shots if they have underlying medical conditions or are often in long-term care settings or high-risk settings, the CDC states.
Last week, Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization for booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine for all adults. Moderna also sought similar FDA emergency use authorization on Wednesday. The FDA has yet to make a determination on either vaccine.