SANTA FE – Local and local officials in New Mexico sent an open letter to state business leaders and trade associations on Friday urging vaccination policies for employees and customers that can help stem the growing tide COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
New Mexicans can schedule their vaccination at VaccineNM.org.
The letter – signed by more than two dozen federal, state, city and county officials, including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, US Senator Martin Heinrich, US Senator Ben Ray Luján, US Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez, U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury, State Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, and members of the two Legislative Health Committees, County Commissioners and Mayors – recall that the continued reluctance and resistance to vaccines presently pose a serious and imminent risk to New Mexico’s ongoing economic recovery.
“In short, the pandemic is not over,” the letter read. “New Mexico has been swift with its vaccine distribution program, leading the United States in several key steps and creating a foundation for economic growth, regrowth and opportunity. Indeed, in the latest statewide quarterly economic report, the corresponding gross taxable revenue was the highest since December 2019, demonstrating an increase in economic activity in our state’s 33 counties, unprecedented since. the start of the pandemic. This momentum, however, is not guaranteed; we must protect it and work to create an environment where consumers and workers feel safe. Vaccine resistance – often fueled by misinformation and propaganda – is standing in the way. We have to finish the job. And we need your help.
Unvaccinated people are behind the recent increased risk of COVID-19 in both the state and the United States. 19 deaths in the past six months were unvaccinated. COVID-19-related hospitalizations have more than doubled in the state over the past month, and new cases have peaked in six months.
“While these data points highlight the incredible efficacy of vaccines as well as the risk to unvaccinated people, they are of concern for both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations,” the letter said. “Federal public health officials report virus can mutate among unvaccinated populations, creating so-called ‘revolutionary’ cases, endangering immunity provided by vaccines – and jeopardizing the fragile progress we all have made towards resuming our normal social and economic lives. “
In the letter, officials point out that public institutions in the state – including the state government and the University of New Mexico, among others – have recently implemented policies that require vaccinations or require that unvaccinated people undergo regular COVID-19 tests. Similar policies have been implemented by the U.S. government, local governments, and a myriad of private sector entities in recent days across the country, including some in New Mexico.
“We expect these kinds of requirements to become much more common in the coming weeks, as governments and businesses recognize the serious and imminent economic risk of continued vaccine resistance,” the letter said. “The willingness of private sector leaders to take the lead here in New Mexico will ensure the safety of your workforce, build consumer confidence, and help ensure that our continued economic progress is not unnecessarily jeopardized.” or reversed. “
Describing a concern that increasing infections amid reluctance to vaccinate increases health risks even to vaccinated New Mexicans, the letter continues, “COVID-19 vaccines are accessible and free. And they are effective. Requiring vaccination from your staff – and / or requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from customers who visit and support your business – is within your rights as an employer. Implementing this type of policy to help New Mexico finally end this pandemic is in your power as a community leader. “
List of signatories:
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham; Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales; US Senator Martin Heinrich; US Senator Ben Ray Luján; the representative of the United States Teresa Leger Fernandez; United States representative Melanie Stansbury; Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth; Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Public Affairs; Senator Bill Tallman, Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Public Affairs; Senator Brenda McKenna, member of the Senate Committee on Health and Public Affairs; Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, member of the Senate Committee on Health and Public Affairs; Senator Liz Stefanics, member of the Senate Committee on Health and Public Affairs; Representative Deborah Armstrong, Chair of the House Health and Social Services Committee; representative Joanne Ferrary, vice-chair of the Chamber’s health and social services committee; Representative Brittney Barreras, member of the Chamber’s health and social services committee; Representative Karen Bash, member of the Chamber’s health and social services committee; Representative Marian Mathews, member of the Chamber’s health and social services committee; representative Roger Montoya, member of the Chamber’s health and social services committee; Representative Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, member of the Chamber’s health and social services committee; Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa; Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley; Bernalillo County Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty; Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada; Doña Ana County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds; Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen; Mayor Daniel R. Barrone of Taos; Mayor Peter Nieto of Mountainair and Mayor Alan Webber of Santa Fe.