COVID-19: What to expect when San Juan County gets the coronavirus vaccine

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — When the COVID-19 vaccine reaches San Juan County, the first doses will be given to San Juan Regional Medical Center personnel, according to San Juan County Emergency Manager Mike Mestas.

Mestas outlined the vaccination plan during the San Juan County Commission meeting on Dec. 1, which can be viewed on YouTube.

Read more:COVID-19: Updates on case numbers and restrictions in San Juan County and Navajo Nation

It is unclear when the vaccine will reach San Juan County, however Mestas said plans are underway to get vaccines to people when they are available. Mestas said it is also not clear how many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will initially be available for San Juan County.

"What we do receive for San Juan County is going to the hospital so we can take care of our health care workers," he said.

Keep reading:Want a COVID test but don't want a nasal swab? Saliva tests are now available

Mestas said San Juan County will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include who should be prioritized for vaccines. 

San Juan County is preparing for the Pfizer vaccine by looking at ways to store it. This vaccine requires two doses and must be stored at an extremely cold temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius. The county is hoping to receive a freezer that can store the vaccine, however a freezer that meets the requirements has been transferred from San Juan College to the hospital in preparation. 

Other vaccines that are coming out do not have the same extreme temperature storage requirements.

In early spring, Mestas said essential workers will start receiving the vaccine. The vaccine will be available for the general public after the essential workers have been vaccinated.

Others are reading:COVID-19 cases surge 71.3% in New Mexico, weekly case counts increased in 31 counties

Mestas said the county will use McGee Park to host vaccine clinics and will also work with partners like Walgreens and home health providers to distribute the vaccine.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: