TIJUANA (Border Report) — Nurse Perla Marina Guerrero became the first person in Tijuana to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

If all goes according to plan, she will be one of 12,000 healthcare workers in this part of Mexico to get inoculated within a week.

Baja California Health Secretary Alonso Perez Rico said he and many others have been waiting for this day for a very long time.

“There were healthcare workers who were crying, they didn’t believe we had the vaccine here and we were going to roll it out,” he said.

Baja California Health Secretary Alonso Perez Rico. (Jorge Nieto/Special to Border Report)

After healthcare workers, seniors will be the next group to get the vaccine according to Perez Rico, with the shots available at 16 hospitals and medical facilities throughout Tijuana.

“Next, we’ll do people over 60 years of age, then people 50 to 60 and by June we hope to vaccinate younger groups,” he said.

Perez Rico expects active cases to start going down once they finish with healthcare workers and the older demographics, but he warns the inoculations are not the “end-all.”

“If you get the vaccine, it’s not the end of the pandemic immediately, it’s the beginning of the end,” Perez Rico said. “Not everybody is going to receive the vaccine in a short time, we all need to protect each other by using face masks and by practicing social distancing for the rest of the year for everybody to be safe.”

He added that safe practices are necessary on both sides of the border as a way to protect the entire region.

As of Wednesday morning, 12,366 COVID-19 cases have been documented in Tijuana since the pandemic started, 2592 people have died.

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