SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is now administering the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 to children ages 12 to 15, as state health officials pushed Thursday for more people to get vaccinated.
The move by the state Health Department follows authorizations this week by the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state is encouraging families to register children on its vaccine website.
The expanded availability applies only to the Pfizer vaccine, which until now was only available to people ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people 18 and older.
State officials say more than half of eligible residents are now considered fully vaccinated.
The goal is to hit 60% next month, but vaccination rates for some parts of the state — including southeastern New Mexico and rural areas in central New Mexico — are trailing because not everyone wants a shot.
The state has been trying incentive vaccination. On Thursday, health officials said employers are entitled to tax credits through the federal government for providing paid leave to employees who take time off related to COVID-19 vaccinations. They also have set up a website where organizations and local groups can request vaccinations clinics.