EL PASO, Texas-- Much has been made about 'herd immunity' in the fight against Covid-19. With vaccinations continuing to increase in El Paso and more than 500,000 vaccine doses administered, the opportunity to create herd immunity in the community appears to be within reach.
“That herd immunity has to be achieved either by having immunity from natural infection or immunity from the vaccination. So, we still have some immunity from that natural infection but we want to continue immunizing as many people as possible and hopefully Mexico continues to receive the vaccine,” Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the El Paso City/County Health Authority said Monday.
Even though the U.S.-Mexico border remains closed for non-essential travel, there are still concerns that those traveling to and from Ciudad Juarez may be carriers of the virus.
“We have close links, we have relatives on both sides of the border. We don’t want to see the pain and the suffering that we saw especially with that large surge that we had,” Ocaranza said.
El Paso and Juarez became a hotbed for the Covid-19 virus in the fall. With many residents getting infected, there is a level of natural immunity. However, the risk of reinfection from new strains continues to be real, especially for those who can't protect themselves because the vaccine is not available.
A Juarez resident who has never been infected with Covid-19 told ABC-7 that he fears it will be a matter of time before he gets sick, if he's not able to get the vaccine soon.
"It's frustrating seeing how El Pasoans are getting vaccinated and we are still far from that," explained Ramiro Alcoverde. "When the outbreak first began everyone said this virus didn't have borders, its frustrating to see this side of the border falling behind."
The vaccine allocations in Juarez are now becoming more widespread with seniors now eligible for the vaccine. That campaign began last week, four months behind El Paso.