TORNILLO, Texas -- El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego outlined a plan to ABC-7 on Tuesday to vaccinate workers from maquiladoras across the U.S.-Mexico border in Juarez in an effort to reach heard immunity from Covid-19 in the Borderland region.
Under the judge's plan, Mexican nationals would be transported by buses from Juarez plants to get vaccinated at an El Paso County facility to be set up in Tornillo, utilizing up to 50,000 surplus Johnson & Johnson vaccines that are not being used and would otherwise go to waste.
Those doses are separate from 1.3 million doses the U.S. government recently donated to Mexico, which plans to start using those to vaccinate residents in border communities starting Wednesday.
These vaccination efforts come in the hopes this summer of reopening the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been closed to non-essential travel throughout the pandemic. As a result, the retail and tourism economy in downtown El Paso has suffered.
Samaniego told ABC-7 that he was coordinating with the Mexican government, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, University Medical Center, Texas Tech Health Sciences as well as the Mexican Consulate on his plan to vaccinate Juarez factory workers.
The judge said the full vaccination rate in Juarez is only at 8% currently, versus El Paso County's 57% full vaccination rate.