EL PASO, Texas -- The county of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez are now in a race against the clock when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine supply. El Paso will be forced to throw away between 4,000 to 10,000 vaccines if they cannot find anyone to get the vaccine within days.
"It's a lot of pressure. because we need to throw away 4,000 if we don't provide arms for those vaccines," El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said at a commissioner's court meeting on Monday.
The bi-national vaccination effort began when El Paso and Juarez reached an agreement to get 'Maquiladora' or factory workers vaccinated at the Tornillo port of entry. That vaccination effort mirrored what we saw in El Paso when the vaccine first became available.
"Same phenomenon, we went from the busses loaded completely and hitting almost 5,000 a day to now struggling, so we have until August the 2nd and we are doing everything that is possible because it's all paid for," Samaniego said.
El Paso and Juarez are now going on a public address blast to get the word out in Juarez about the vaccine, working with major companies like S-Mart to bus Juarenses to Tornillo.
"We loose a lot of vaccines and it's really disheartening that if we don't do what we need to do we could lose up to 10,000 vaccines," Samaniego said.
The pressure comes as news of the expansion of the program was announced. The goal is to vaccinate close to 25,000 Juarenses at the Tornillo port of entry by the end of the week. According to El Diario, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered at no cost to those who call ahead to register. A visa wont be required to get the vaccine either.
Mexico is currently going through a third wave of infections, the non-essential travel ban at the border has recently been extended until at least Aug. 21.