TIJUANA (Border Report) — By Thursday, 10,000 maquiladora workers from Mexico will have been vaccinated just north of the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry between San Diego and Tijuana.
The “excess” vaccines are being provided by the state of California and the County of San Diego, with expenses being paid for by the American companies that employ the workers.
Said workers are bused to the port of entry and then briefly set foot on American soil where a mobile clinic has been set up. Once they get inoculated, the workers walk back into Mexico and head back to work.
The Johnson & Johnson brand of the vaccine is being administered since it requires just one dose. It is being done by UC San Diego Health personnel.
Hailing the program’s success, the head of Tijuana’s Chamber of Industry Jorge Figueroa Barrozo is hoping to have another 400,000 workers vaccinated in the weeks ahead.
“Logistics are working out in an orderly and timely fashion,” said Figueroa Barrozo. “The cooperation has been efficient and there have been no problems.”
Up to this point, only workers employed by American interests have been considered for the vaccine, but now Figueroa Barrozo is leading a drive to amplify the vaccinations to include all other companies.
“We are negotiating with pharmaceutical companies, regional governments and other organizations trying to gain more access to the vaccines,” he said.
“If we keep doing this type of procedure where we go after factories, production levels will come back faster and we’ll save money in the long run, everything will be more efficient,”he said.
According to Figueroa Barrozo, most workers are willing to be vaccinated, although some have questioned the side effects associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
According to the American Medical Association, a few people who have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine experienced blood clots with low platelets.
But the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have cleared the vaccination for mass distribution and inoculation.
“Tijuana and Baja California need good news,” said Figueroa Barrozo. “If we coordinate and work to add our spec of sand, we can bring this to a brighter port. We all work under the same objective aiming for the same result of improving the health of everyone.”
Neither the County of San Diego nor the State of California have commented on whether they would be inclined to vaccinate the 400,000 workers from Mexico.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has also not committed to providing the facility where the vaccinations are currently being applied.