New Mexico currently has a serious COVID surge on its hands, and now the state's Democrat governor is hinting at more drastic measures to try to get the state's case count under control.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has already tried reimplementing a statewide mask mandate. But as the governor of her state's neighbor to the north, Colorado — where a similar COVID surge is currently underway — pointed out, the mandate has been a failure.
Lujan Grisham even threatened one of her state's rural school boards for refusing to force kids to mask up. Still, COVID cases have surged, despite her strong-arm tactics.
The governor also implemented a vaccine mandate for health care employees, teachers, and "high risk" workers, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. And despite the fact that nearly two-thirds of the state's population (including 74% of adults) is fully vaccinated — making it the 13th most vaccinated state in the U.S. — cases are on the rise.
In fact, 29% of the state's COVID cases over the last month have been among the vaccinated, the Associated Press said Wednesday.
So Lujan Grisham has a plan: She is going to ignore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's standards and declare that being "fully vaccinated" means having received a booster and will no longer include those who received two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines more than six months ago, the AP said.
The governor's assertion came during a COVID briefing, during which she blamed the unvaccinated for the pandemic. However, she was forced to acknowledge that the vaccinated can and do contract and spread the virus.
"We know vaccinations are the most effective tool to both blunting the spread of the virus and to protecting [ourselves] and our families," Lujan Grisham said, according to the AP. "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."
Over the last week, New Mexico declared that all adults are now eligible for Pfizer boosters. With that policy behind her, it appears that the governor is now prepared to force many of her state's adults to get the third jab — or else.
State Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase admitted that the government is discussing an official change to the definition of "fully vaccinated" and that the governor will likely roll out a new order in the coming weeks, the AP said.
As of this moment, the FDA has not even officially approved the booster shots for all adults, although the agency is widely expected to do so this week, perhaps as early as today.