LARSO Executive Director Bernadette Lauritzen
The Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization (LARSO) has received additional information from the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for local seniors.
“We beg people to please realize that this is a moving target,” LARSO Executive Director Bernadette Lauritzen said. “Please be kind to my employees because they are operating on little information and simply don’t have an answer to many questions yet.”
It appears that the time frame for receiving the vaccine doses is early February and those eligible are in the group 1b category. The CDC defines that category as seniors 75 and above. These initial doses will not be available for staff or the vaccinating pharmacy to make allowances for a staff or someone younger with additional health issues.
Seniors 75 and above will be able to call and make an appointment once dates have been provided to LARSO.
Senior centers across the state were encouraged to additionally have local seniors sign up through the Department of Health portal. It can be found at https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org, then click on the red bar that says click here to pre-register. Select your desired language prompt and then click the line that says: “I don’t have an event code; I want to register for the vaccine when it is available.”
This will be a separate registration from those held at the local senior centers. Once the local vaccine hubs are provided with a date, seniors can determine which site they prefer. The two events are not interconnected for the same registration.
“People ask why we put out any information if we didn’t have much,” Lauritzen said. “The truth is I felt we needed to have hope that our seniors have not been forgotten.”
Lauritzen stated that with only two news sources in town she is hoping those over 60 will register as members of the senior center so once information is acquired for each age category, it can be emailed to members quickly.
“We’re not saying you have to join to get a vaccine, but we don’t have the staff to return hundreds of calls,” she said.
The centers were asked about having detailed information on various COVID-19 topics on their website. Those that have the time and patience will just have to navigate the Department of Health and CDC websites, Lauritzen said.
The center has been informed that it will receive the Moderna vaccine. That alone is a five-page document in addition to the one-page release form, she said.
“There are many changes that could take place, so it bodes us well to not muddy the waters,” Lauritzen said. “You should leave a message at 505.662.8920 with your name, address, phone number and birth date. A current email address will be used to send out information once dates are scheduled for both centers. Please know if you don’t leave a message it just puts you further down the list. Please be patient as staff is working quickly to reply to all requests.”