COVID vaccines: Why did New Mexico neglect its seniors?

COVID-19 has overwhelmingly struck down seniors, as 80% of deaths have been of adults 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC recommended giving vaccine priority to this vulnerable group. Why did New Mexico ignore this guidance, as the last state to offer vaccines to all seniors?

Like many “neglected seniors,” I drove to Amarillo for my vaccines. Ironically, as I was receiving my second shot, I received a text from the New Mexico Department of Health telling me that “New Mexico is the most efficient state in the country for vaccine distribution.” Wow. As I drove back from Texas, I thought, “efficient” perhaps, but certainly not “just” or “science-based.” NM was then only “officially” vaccinating people over 75 or with health conditions. Just who were these people benefitting from the state’s “efficiency?” Who was getting priority over our unprotected seniors?

All of us neglected seniors saw younger, healthier friends getting immunized before us. One friend in their early ’20s, working remotely for local government, got both vaccine doses early, as had most of their colleagues since “they may be soon returning to work.” The CDC had determined that my then, the unvaccinated senior cohort was over 70 times more likely to die from Covid than theirs. Obviously, since February, any senior New Mexico COVID-19 deaths of those denied an early vaccine are a direct consequence of this governmental choice.

So how do we best understand this NM bias against our defenseless seniors? When the state finally offered us vaccines, it lumped us in with “other essential workers.” That’s it. Some lives are simply more “essential” than others. Our state is “pro-choice” on vaccines. As with abortion, the more powerful decide which lives are more worthy of protection.

The CDC has also ranked the states in order of providing vaccines according to “social vulnerability.”  New Mexico ranks #37, well behind our eastern neighbor at #7.  This is consistent with us giving vaccine preference to the more socially valuable. This governmental “choice” is directed at the defenseless, as in abortion. Just as our state taxpayer-funded abortions overwhelmingly stop poor people from reproducing.

New Mexico is one of the few places globally, outside of Communist North Korea, Vietnam, and China, with no restrictions on abortion. Albuquerque is known as the “Late-Term Abortion Capital of America,” and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has stated that she would like to increase abortion travel here, never requiring such visitors to quarantine. 

By denying Covid vaccines to vulnerable seniors while allowing unlimited abortion, a more powerful human can simply decide which lives are worth saving.  And now our state can provide this ethic to assisted suicide.

With our new “End of Life Options” law, we are the first state to allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe death.  As demonstrated with its vaccine priorities and unlimited abortion, we can sadly expect our state to use its power to remove the “less valuable.”  Pro-lifers do not generally use the “anti-abortion” label, as it diminishes our broader values.  We believe that all human life, from conception to natural death, is essential.  May our state’s bias with vaccines remind us of the dignity of all life, from the womb to the hospice.  May we love the vulnerable, not terminate them.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at