Mexico to use US-donated vaccines at the border

Mexican officials say they will use 1 million US doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to vaccinate people at the border

MEXICO CITY – Mexican officials said Friday they will use one million US doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to vaccinate people at the border.

President Andres Manuel López Obrador said vaccinations at Mexico’s northern border with the United States are part of an effort to fully reopen border crossings, which are currently limited to essential travel.

“Our country’s border communities on the northern border are going to have a special vaccination plan, which aims to bring border transport back to normalcy,” López Obrador said.

Mexican officials said they would have to receive another 2 million doses of the one-shot vaccine – which they can buy from Johnson & Johnson – to vaccinate 3 million border residents between 18 and 40.

Presumably, people over 40 would be covered by Mexico’s regular nationwide campaign, which does not use Johnson & Johnson, although the shot is approved for use in Mexico.

On Thursday, an official said some could also be used in coastal resorts frequented by Americans, but that possibility was not included in the plan announced on Friday. The announcement came on the same day that Mexico City announced a gradual lifting of a partial coronavirus lockdown that began more than a year ago.

López Obrador said US Vice President Kamala Harris told her the United States would send vaccines, but did not say when.

Mexican cities on the border are far behind their US counterparts in vaccinating their populations. But goods and people constantly move across the border.

It is unclear how the plan to prioritize border areas will play out in other parts of Mexico that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Mexico has so far received 42.3 million doses of five different types of vaccines, and administered 32.8 million of those doses, not including Johnson & Johnson. This is still largely insufficient for a country of 126 million.

Mexico has suffered more than 228,000 test-confirmed deaths related to COVID-19, but even government officials acknowledge that Mexico’s true pandemic death toll is far higher because many People have died at home or have never been tested. A preliminary analysis of more deaths suggests that COVID-19 deaths have now exceeded 350,000, giving Mexico one of the highest per capita rates in the world.

In Mexico City, hospital stays and new cases have dropped so low that capacity restrictions in places such as theatres, gyms and sports stadiums can now be gradually lifted. However, wearing a mask will still be required in most indoor public places.


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