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‘Totally different situation’: El Paso County Judge concerned over Juarez vaccination rate

Vials and syringes of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are displayed.
Vials and syringes of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are displayed.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — El Paso is reporting several positive Covid-19 trends. Hospitalizations and the county’s positivity rate have been steadily declining for the past several weeks. 

More than half of the county’s eligible population is also now fully vaccinated against the virus, but county leaders warn the fight against the virus is not over. One of their biggest concerns is slow vaccine rollout across the border in Mexico.

“Once we open the borders, if you take that average, then our percentage, which is now at 50% for the population of those 12 years of age [and older] that have been vaccinated, we have a community that is right next to us that the estimate is probably at 10% and it’s a population of 1.5 million,” said El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Monday. 

Travel restrictions on the U.S./Mexico border have been extended through at least June 21.

Samaniego has previously expressed the need to help vaccinate individuals in Juarez to better protect those in the entire region. Earlier this month he said un-vaccinated people crossing the border could have the potential to cause a Covid-19 spike in El Paso.

“Once we begin to interact with each other, we have a totally different situation,” Samaniego said. “I’ve been encouraging sort of a plea with the community. Wear your mask and that would allow people coming in from other parts, either Juarez or Chihuahua or any place, that they would respect something we're trying to accomplish and that is we never get back to a situation we were once in.”

Beyond the border, El Paso City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza urged safety precautions too. He said Monday that even individuals who are fully vaccinated should wear face coverings in large group settings. He added that safety measures will need to continue until El Paso reaches herd immunity. 

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.



  1. He has somewhat of a valid point if in fact vaccinations are really the reason Covid numbers are down. But the number of people going back and forth over the bridges has still been very high throughout the Covid months. I go to and return from Juarez 3 times a week minimum. Many folks 7 times a week.

  2. Dr. Macarena and his buddy Dr. Fauci. Two quacks in a pod. The current science is no need to wear the face mask if you are fully vaccinated.

  3. I’ve been saying that all along, but was pooh-poohed by our liberal commentators. Juarez is the millstone around our neck. It’s all coming home to roost now, isn’t it? LOL

  4. Juarez travel was the reason El Paso had the highest infection rate in the nation for months. Not a single local politician did anything to discourage travel into Juarez. It is all about the money at the tolls.
    Now, this idiot wants us to help them with vaccination. Keep the border closed to them until vaccination rates are over 50% over there. Simple.

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