Come January 2022, essential workers, students will need proof of vaccine to cross the border


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Fully-vaccinated people will be able to cross the U.S. – Mexico Border and the border between the U.S. and Canada come November, but the reopening has two phases to it.

Throughout the pandemic, essential workers and students have been able to cross. However, according to the Department of Homeland Security, in January 2022 the second phase of the reopening takes effect, requiring all foreign nationals crossing to show proof of vaccination – even if they are crossing for essential purposes.

The news of the restrictions being lifted will have an impact on students of Lydia Patterson, an El Paso private school, as 70% of their students cross from Juarez to El Paso to study.

“I walk every day, but before COVID they used to bring me here. And, because the bridge gets full I have to wake up at 5 a.m.” said Yojan Gonzalez, a senior at Lydia Patterson whose parents are unable to cross to the U.S. due to the border restrictions.

Gonzalez says both his parents are vaccinated and will be able to cross once the restrictions are lifted in November.

The President of Lydia Patterson says students needing to show proof of vaccination to cross the border should not be a problem as she says 93% f faculty and students are fully vaccinated. She anticipates the school will offer vaccinations again before the changes to the restrictions come in January.

“Maybe there was a reason at the time those didn’t get vaccinated. But we’ll stay on top of this and we’ll give them their opportunity to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Socorro Brito DeAnda, the president of Lydia Patterson.

DeAnda adds the school was able to vaccinate students under the age of 18 with written permission from parents, as some parents have been unable to cross due to the border restrictions.

“Initially it was that they had to have one parent present and we talked about that and we brought up the fact that some of our parents couldn’t come across, so they allowed us to do it with just a written parent permission,” DeAnda said.

While the vaccine has been available to youths ages 12 to 17 in the U.S., that hasn’t been the case in Mexico.

According to the Mexican Health Ministry website, registration for people ages 12 to 17 to get the vaccine will open in October with priority to those with comorbidities.

“Parents can cross because they are over 18 but what about their sons and daughters? They are not 18,” said Irvin Torres Infante, a student from Juarez studying at Lydia Patterson.

Torres says he got the vaccine in El Paso, but that he has a cousin living in Juarez who has been unable to cross to the United States. He is 13 and has not been able to get the vaccine yet.

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The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.