Photo courtesy MCA

MCA leads collaborative effort to help Juarez implement Covid-19 vaccine distribution strategy

Medical Center of the Americas Foundation (MCA) officials announced Thursday that the group is leading a collaborative effort with community partners to assist Ciudad Juárez in implementing a vaccine distribution strategy.

The MCA in partnership with the City of El Paso, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and University of the Medical Center of El Paso (UMC) organized tours of their vaccination sites for the State of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez community partners to learn first-hand about site plans, logistics, technology and processes of administering COVID-19 vaccines, possible roadblocks that they may encounter and best practices learned.

Since the start of the pandemic, the MCA has been facilitating regular discussions with key healthcare and community leaders in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez to address various COVID-19 issues and concerns.

Over the past couple of months, the MCA organized three tours of the city’s vaccination sites including the City of El Paso’s George Perry site, UTEP’s site and UMC’s site at the County Coliseum.

Hosting tours of vaccinations sites is part of a larger strategy to collaborate with partners in the region and coordinate a regional response against the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing access to personal protection equipment (PPE), testing, contact tracing and vaccinations.

“A collaboration in fighting this pandemic between the Unites States and Mexico and specifically between El Paso and Juarez is vital” said Emma Schwartz, President of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation.

“We are one community. Everyone who lives on the border knows that. However, the geopolitical line that divides us had a tremendous impact on our pandemic response for the region. As sister communities, even if our governments are responding differently, we as humans need to work together to uplift our region.”

In early February 2021, the MCA also hosted a webinar featuring speakers from the UTEP, UMC, and City of El Paso to explain the different vaccine distribution models each institution is implementing. The webinar served to show Juárez and State of Chihuahua officials different models that they could incorporate into their own vaccine distribution strategy and hurdles that they could avoid once they obtain significant numbers of vaccines. (To date, vaccines have only been administered to COVID-19 hospital workers and some communities in the mountains in the State of Chihuahua.)

“The vaccination process started in the United States before that in Chihuahua” said Eduardo Fernández, Secretary of Health of the State of Chihuahua during the UTEP tour.

 “We want to assume that you are making great progress while we are just starting. All the experience that you have accumulated in these days and in previous weeks serve to help us not make the same mistakes you have made in starting the vaccination process. To me this is what is most important.”

The MCA and its partners hope to demonstrate that the way to successfully fight this pandemic in the region is through a united front between El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juárez, Mexico – as all cross-border medical and public health matters should be addressed.