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US sending millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico

Move could help reopen the border more quickly
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 9:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - An aircraft carrying 1.3 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine landed in Mexico early Tuesday, June 15, part of a pledge from the Biden Administration to share with the rest of the world.

It’s the second large donation to Mexico since March 2021, when 2.5 million doses were given to our Southern neighbor.

Mexico announced the vaccine will be distributed among the 39 border communities where vaccinations have lagged far behind the United States and has hampered opening the border between the two countries.

“We need to end the pandemic everywhere,” said assistant White House Press Secretary Kevin Munoz. “And more importantly, the virus doesn’t know any borders.”

Nowhere is that more evident than the border in Nogales.

On the American side, there have been zero cases many days, one or two on others.

On the Sonoran side, the vaccination process has been slow, still limited to 40 and above as cases flourish.

“I wish they’d reach out to our local governments and really understand the impact,” said District 5 Pima County Supervisor Adelita Grijalva.

Grijalva has proposed sending thousands of doses of the J&J vaccine, which are nearing their expiration date. It would a goodwill gesture but also help to open the border again.

“Our community is not isolated, it doesn’t end at the border,” she said. “Our community continues to go through the border and we need to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.”

While the government will not allow the county to send doses to Mexico, Grijalva said she will encourage the county to give them back to the federal government for distribution “so they don’t go to waste.”

The Biden Administration is coordinating the shipments, but once the vaccines arrive it is up to Mexico to distribute the vaccines.

“Right now, the Mexican government and the US Government are working closely alongside a series of working groups, public health officials and diplomatic authorities to figure out how they can best and safely reopen our restrictions,” Munoz said. “The more people who are vaccinated in a community, the safer they can be.”

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