Scheduling a vaccine through the Department of Health website shouldn’t be confusing. But as the state urges adults over 18 to receive booster shots to protect against COVID-19, many people are reporting issues.

Here’s what we saw when trying to schedule a booster shot: First, after receiving a code — which if you don’t have, the Department of Health can text you — a person wanting a booster goes to the vaccine registration page. (That address is cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/my-registration.html).

There, it appears straightforward. The shot seeker fills in details about what type of booster is desired, whether he or she needs accommodations of any sort, time frame desired and, importantly, the city desired.

It’s when filling in the city and searching that it gets interesting.

For example, a search Friday for Pfizer shots in Santa Fe turned up locations in Las Vegas, N.M., Bernalillo, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba County — all spots that aren’t in Santa Fe. The closest to the City Different was a location at Tesuque Casino.

Another search for Moderna shots brought a number of locations, with only one apparently in Santa Fe — the Walmart at 3251 Cerrillos Road. However, the select a date function wasn’t working. Someone unfamiliar with computers might click on a Sam’s Club pharmacy, thinking it was in Santa Fe, only to find out later they were signed up in Farmington or Las Cruces.

Fix this, please, so people can sign up efficiently for boosters, just as they did when accessing the initial vaccines.

There’s good news amid confusion, however. It is fairly simple to go straight to locations where shots are being given and sign up on a pharmacy website. That is, go to Walgreens, CVS or Walmart — or whatever pharmacy you use — and make an appointment. The process can be somewhat laborious. The companies want names, addresses, email contact information and the like.

Pharmacy appointments are filling up fast, too. But at least by making an appointment at the Walgreens on Cerrillos or the CVS on Cordova, a person won’t have to worry about inadvertently signing up in Bernalillo or Albuquerque.

Computer whizzes at the Department of Health need to work on the vaccine appointment site to ensure that when you click on Santa Fe as your city, the locations available actually are within Santa Fe. And fixing similar problems on other state agency websites — certainly, the Department of Workforce Solutions can tell you all about it — is key to keeping customers happy.

More than that, we urge the state — and the city, county, public schools and local hospitals and clinics — to sponsor more pop-up clinics so people can walk up and get their boosters, as happened with the initial vaccine rollout. The clinics that have been held at the Santa Fe Railyard by the artists market are an example of how to do it right. To find events, go to the website, now named goodtimes.vaccinenm.org/stay-ahead-nm/ and scroll down to where it says, “Find an event near you” and look for a vaccine clinic.

With immunity fading after six months, many residents of Santa Fe — who rushed to be vaccinated as soon as possible — likely are at risk going into the winter and holiday seasons. People want to gather with their families safely. Having a complete series of vaccinations can make that happen. It should not be complicated to schedule a shot. Let’s do better.

(8) comments

Mike Johnson

And yet the administration and NMDOH are greatly expanding testing, but not vaccinations and boosters. Why is the focus on testing when it should be the easiest and most convenient ways to get a vaccine or booster? Considering how bad our case, deaths, and hospitalization rates are compared to other states, their priorities are badly out of line with what is needed. Testing will not effectively protect anyone from getting this disease.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/balloon-fiesta-park-covid-19-testing-site-reopens/6310647/?cat=500

Dan Frazier

It has been close to 7 months since I received my second shot. A few days ago I signed up for a booster using the Dept. of Health Web site. The earliest appointment I could get in Santa Fe was two months away! Though I am not too concerned for myself, it would be much better if people could get booster appointments sooner.

Diane Rolnick

Watch out for the so called "pop-up" sites. They do not honor time slots and one can be waiting 3 hours. This is a disgrace. The DOH site and the pop-ups and the pharmacies who are a month out and one cannot sign up in advance of 2 weeks. DOH and this administration does not care about our time and difficulty signing up and finding a vaccine.

Mark Ortiz

I just went on and, yes I could travel, take off work, etc but their is only one Santa Fe location Walmart super store , earliest, Jan 12th. smh

Caroline Smith

Maybe you don't have enough pre-existing conditions? I got Dec. 9, but I am in ABQ. My high blood pressure may have gotten me the quicker appt. (I didn't even mention my mental illness LOL).

Donna Bergonzi

I found the site to be easy to navigate. I filled in all the information including my zip code, picked Santa Fe as my city and Bingo! I was given a map with locations closest to my address. I chose Sam’s Club and was given a day and time. No confusion at all.

Either the site occasionally experiences problems or people are not putting in their correct information or location.

Chris Mechels

This DOH system was built by Real Time Solutions, which is unqualified. They seem to have some close connection to MLG. The strange interface with "events" seems to trace to using the software to sell tickets to music events.

The DOH did not put the software out for bids, OR as a sole source, as one would expect. The procurement looks irregular, and possibly illegal. I have sent this issue to the NM State Auditor, Brian Colon, who of course does nothing. Like most of MLG's actions, very incompetent and corrupt. The New Mexican of course does not investigate or report on this matter.

Jonathan Owen

I had this exact experience trying to find a booster on the state website. It offered me a booster in Las Cruces instead of Santa Fe. Disgraceful.

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