Mexico to use 1 million donated Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines along US border

The Mexican government is also considering targeting tourism hotspots for surge vaccination rollouts

People wearing face masks cross a street as Mexico City's authorities announce a full reopening of the city come Monday, the first time since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Mexico June 4, 2021. Reuters
People wearing face masks cross a street as Mexico City's authorities announce a full reopening of the city come Monday, the first time since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Mexico June 4, 2021. Reuters

Mexican officials said on Friday they will use 1 million US doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to inoculate people along the border.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says the vaccinations along Mexico’s northern border with the United States is part of an effort to fully reopen border crossings, which are currently restricted to essential travel.

“There is going to be a special vaccination plan in the border communities of our country on the northern border, with the aim of getting border transportation back to normal,” Mr López Obrador said.

Mexican officials say they will have to obtain another 2 million doses of the one-shot vaccine – which they might purchase from Johnson & Johnson – to vaccinate 3 million border residents between 18 and 40 years old.

Presumably, those older than 40 will be covered by Mexico’s regular nationwide campaign, which does not use Johnson & Johnson, although the shot has been approved for use in Mexico.

On Thursday, an official said some doses might also be used at coastal resorts frequented by Americans, but that possibility was not included in the plan announced on Friday.

The announcement came on the same day that Mexico City announced the gradual lifting of a partial coronavirus lockdown that began more than a year ago.

Mexico City is reopening schools, convention centers and concert halls this month as Covid-19 cases and deaths reached their lowest levels in over a year, even as the outbreak worsens in other parts of Latin America.

Soccer stadiums and movie theatres will be able to fill half their seats and gyms will hold classes, in a gradual return over the course of this month.

Surrounding the capital, Mexico state, the nation’s most populous, has also reduced its Covid restrictions to the lowest level, or “code green.”

“More economic activities will open and jobs will recover,” Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told reporters on Friday.

The restrictions are being lifted after Covid fatalities have fallen sharply for several weeks nationwide, including hitting 48 deaths on May 24, the lowest since April of last year.

Experts attribute the shift to rising vaccination both in Mexico and the US and broad immunity after a devastating outbreak in the winter.

It’s putting the nation on a recovery trend closer to its northern neighbour than to regional peers like Argentina and Brazil that are struggling to get the virus under control.

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Published: June 5, 2021 12:42 PM

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