We are writing to express our deep gratitude to the legislature for requiring proof of vaccination of any visitor to the Roundhouse.

Requiring vaccination of all visitors to the Roundhouse is a common sense COVID-19 preventive measure that protects our communities.

Allowing for remote participation ensures that all interested parties — including those who choose to remain unvaccinated — can safely access appropriate official public business of the legislature, which strengthens the fairness and responsiveness of our state government.

We are appalled by the unscientific backlash to the legislature’s data-informed precautions. In the Roundhouse, nearly everyone is a “close contact” to everyone else.

Without a vaccination requirement, many of the thousands of people visiting the capitol during the legislative session would carry the disease home and infect family, friends and community members.

The highly infectious Delta variant comprises nearly all of New Mexico’s current COVID-19 cases.

Recent data suggests that the original two-dose vaccine series makes vaccinated individuals much less likely than unvaccinated individuals to contract and spread the Delta variant, but that individuals’ vaccine-induced immunity wanes over time, which is why getting a third dose is critical for all adults in New Mexico.

Our own New Mexico COVID-19 data demonstrate overwhelmingly that COVID-19 vaccinations provide significant protection against infection, severe disease and death:

  • 72 percent of New Mexico COVID-19 cases from Oct. 11-Nov. 8 this year were unvaccinated individuals;
  • 77 percent of NM COVID-19 hospitalizations from Oct. 11-Nov. 8 were unvaccinated individuals;
  • 95 percent of NM COVID-19 deaths from Oct. 11-Nov. 8 were unvaccinated individuals.

Because of the infectiousness of the Delta variant, waning immunity from vaccinations and a large unvaccinated subset of the population, our state is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

As a result, six of our hospitals are in crisis standards of care, pediatric cases are rising and some New Mexico schools have returned to remote learning in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

We applaud the legislature for implementing data-informed measures to save lives — including the lives of those in opposition to these measures — during this serious COVID-19 Delta variant-fueled surge.

Shelley Mann-Lev, MPH; president, NM Public Health Association
Anna Rondon, director of the New Mexico Social Justice & Equity Initiative, co-president-elect of NM Public Health Association
Nai Walter, BSPH, MPH(c); co-president elect of NM Public Health Association
Leah Sanchez, MPH executive director, NM Public Health Association.