El Paso targets cross-border truck drivers for COVID-19 vaccines

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Commercial drivers hauling loads from U.S.-operated plants in Mexico will receive flyers inviting them to free shots at the Civic Center and other venues

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – El Paso is inviting cross-border truckers to get free COVID-19 vaccinations in local locations where the country of residence is not an issue.

City officials distribute an average of 70 leaflets on the US side of the Ysleta-Zaragoza ports of entry and the Bridge of America to drivers hauling commercial cargoes out of Mexico, said Deputy Fire Chief Jorge Rodriguez.

The city has also posted a sign near the Bridge of America and is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to make sure the message gets across.

“The drivers themselves communicate with each other by radio. […] You will be informed through brochures and word of mouth, ”said Rodriguez.

Many of the 800 to 1,000 truck drivers who come through El Paso-Juarez’s ports of entry are citizens of Mexico who are considered key workers and who never stopped popping by during the pandemic.

Some who work for the US-operated production facilities in Juarez known as maquiladoras do two to three runs a day.

One of the most famous places for temporary vaccinations is the El Paso Convention Center in downtown El Paso.

El Paso and Juarez have been hard hit by the pandemic, but the numbers have been falling in recent months as vaccination rates have risen sharply, particularly in El Paso.

The city had recorded 136,303 coronavirus infections and 2,624 deaths as of Wednesday, compared with 32,089 cases and 3,393 deaths from Juarez.

El Paso had fully vaccinated 83.2 percent of those over 65 and 57.8 percent of those 12 and over by Thursday. City officials say the city may be weeks away from achieving herd immunity, but persuading stragglers to get vaccinated must remain a priority.

The vaccination rates in El Paso County continue to rise. (Courtesy of the City of El Paso)

“We restrict the unvaccinated population and talk to them extensively (through) an interview process to dispel conspiracy theories. We are reaching out to parents in different locations to provide them with any information they need, ”said Angela Mora, El Paso Public Health Director.

Dr. Arturo Valenzuela

Juarez – and all of Mexico – missed previously set targets for widespread vaccination by April, but has picked up significantly since then.

The state of Chihuahua passed the 1 million mark in vaccines used last month and expects to receive half a million doses from the United States in the next few weeks. These vaccines would go to people aged 18 to 39 in Juarez.

Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, state health director in Juarez, said Thursday that there was still no date for the arrival and distribution of the vaccines, but registration had started anyway.

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