Tuesday morning, the El Paso County Judge’s Office in coordination with the Mexican Consulate’s Office, the County’s Emergency Service District No. 2 (ESD #2), and University Medical Center began administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to maquiladora workers employed in Juarez, Mexico.
“El Paso is uniquely situated directly next to a country still struggling to obtain sufficient vaccine doses for its population,” said County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego. “As our community finally finds itself recovering from the pandemic, we now have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many who are still at risk of testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.”
“Este es un claro reflejo de la solidaridad de una comunidad binacional, que busca apoyar a la salud y bienestar en ambos lados de la forntera,” said Mexican Consulate Mauricio Ibarra Ponce De Leon. (This is a clear reflection of the solidarity of one binational community, that looks to help the health and welfare of both sides of the border.)
Officials say that to receive the vaccine, the workers were bused from the twin plants in Juarez to the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry in Tornillo, Texas.
The County’s state and federal partners who also contributed to the success of this incredible binational effort include Veronica Escobar, Congresswoman of the 16th Congressional District in Texas, and Imelda Garcia, Associate Commissioner for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Partners in the private sector such as Cecilia Levine, President of USMC Strategic Alliance, and Fabiola Luna, President of INDEX, have dedicated the past few weeks to planning the logistics on behalf of the maquiladora workers, as well as providing the funding needed to cover all operating costs.
The County’s ESD #2 was able to administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to 1,477 individuals by 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Within the next few weeks, the goal will be to vaccinate 50,000 maquiladora workers.
As of Tuesday, July 6th, 65.9% of El Paso’s population has been fully vaccinated and 76.6% of the population has at least received one dose of the vaccine.
“This binational approach with our sister city is just one of the many efforts to get our community to meet our goal of reaching herd immunity,” said County Judge Samaniego. “Today, was an example of what we are able to accomplish if we all work together.”
Other partners who helped coordinate this event include: El Paso County Commissioner Iliana Holguin’s Office, Medical Center of the Americas, Constable Javier Garcia, Constable Oscar Ugarte, and Texas Tech University.