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El Paso County judge unveils plan for Juarez youth vaccination

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego is hoping build upon his idea to vaccinate maquiladora workers and get more Juarenses vaccinated - this time the youth.

Samaniego is looking to put Covid-19 vaccine shots into the arms of tens of thousands of Juarez teenagers.

The judge admits it will be costly since this effort will involve the PFizer vaccine, which is two doses.

But Samaniego says Juarez officials will foot the almost $1 million bill to get it done.

The county judge says healthcare workers will use the same system to vaccinate Juarez youth, ages 12 to 17, as they did maquiladora employees by having youth bussed to the Tornillo Port of Entry for their shots.

Samaniego says one of the biggest obstacles is that Juarez officials are not yet authorized to vaccinate 12-to-17-year olds, so the teens will need approval from parents.

"That’s a huge category, 12 to 17 is one of their largest demographics in all of Mexico. They have a very young population," said Samaniego.

ABC-7 asked Samaniego why El Paso County is looking vaccinate Juarez youth and not just settle for vaccinating maquiladora workers.

"Well one, we have it available and we're not using them, which is sort of a shame," responded the judge.

The judge says he wants to vaccinate around 35,000 Juarez youth.

He says more than 30,000 maquiladora workers, and some of their family members, were vaccinated.

Samaniego contends the more Juarenzes that are vaccinated, the better both communities will be once the ports of entry re-open.

However, no time line has been set up for Juarez teens to get their vaccines just yet.

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

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