Tens of thousands receive COVID-19 vaccines as Juarez seeks herd immunity

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According to the Chihuahua Health Department, half a million Juarez residents will be vaccinated by Saturday

EL PASO, Texas (border report) – Health officials in Juarez say they vaccinated 185,322 people for COVID-19 this week and expect the number to increase to half a million by Saturday.

Mass vaccination campaigns are underway in six locations across the city, including an industrial park where maquiladoras vaccinate their workers, suppliers and family members, said Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, head of the Chihuahua Ministry of Health in Juarez.

“We have a good flow of people and no waiting times. We expect to have 500,000 vaccinations from now to Saturday, ”he said, broadcasting live from the Juarez Autonomous University gym, where hundreds of people were queuing to get vaccinated.

The Mexican government is working to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19 in order to bolster its case with the United States for an immediate reopening of the border to non-essential land travel. The restrictions have been in place since March 2020 and have hampered tourism and shopping in downtown El Paso and the traditional tourist areas in Juarez across the border.

The restrictions expire on July 21, but could be extended for another month.

Dr. Gumaro Barrios, an epidemiologist with the health department, said the COVID-19 infection curve continued to decline. As of Wednesday, the entire state reported just 106 new cases and one death.

Chihuahua health officials said vaccination of Mexican nationals at the U.S. port of entry in Tornillo, Texas will also continue. The effort, led by the government of El Paso County, began on July 6 and resulted in 1,500 daily vaccinations for workers at nearby maquiladoras in the Zaragoza area of ​​Juarez.

Earlier this week, Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada said he expected the boosted vaccinations will increase the city’s COVID-19 vaccination rate from 30 percent to 60 percent over the next two weeks. He says Juarez will get closer to El Paso’s 67 percent vaccination rate and induce what is known as herd immunity to the disease.

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