Mexico finishes 3-month push to vaccinate border residents

Officials hoped the mass vaccinations would aid in lifting pandemic restrictions on non-essential travel across the U.S. border, which hasn’t happened.

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Young people, some wearing masks, wait for COVID-19 shots during a vaccination drive for people between the ages of 18 and 29 in Mexico City. The capital’s south side borough of Xochimilco is encouraging young residents to dress up in costumes and compete for prizes if they come for their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Young people, some wearing masks, wait for COVID-19 shots during a vaccination drive for people between the ages of 18 and 29 in Mexico City. The capital’s south side borough of Xochimilco is encouraging young residents to dress up in costumes and compete for prizes if they come for their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government says it has completed a three-month push to provide coronavirus vaccines to all adult residents of communities along its border with the United States.

Mexico’s public safety department said it administered the last 64,000 doses to people in the Gulf coast border state of Tamaulipas. The program handed out 3.8 million shots in 45 townships and cities in six states along the border.

Mexico said that, when it began the effort in June, it hoped the mass vaccinations would aid in lifting pandemic restrictions on non-essential travel across the border, something that hasn’t happened.

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Mexico officials said the goal was to boost vaccination rates along the border to levels similar to that on the U.S. side in hopes there would be no reason to continue restricting travel across the border.

The United States donated about 1.35 million doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to the effort.

The project became a priority for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador because the cross-border economy is so important for northern Mexico.

Mexico has received about 100 million doses of vaccines and given at least 61 million people at least one dose. But the Mexican government has resisted calls to vaccinate those under 18.

Officials have said eventually they might begin vaccinating children and teenagers who have chronic health conditions that put them at increased risk.

In the first mass vaccination of minors, state officials in the border state of Coahuila bused 1,000 kids 12 to 17 years old across the border to Eagle Pass, Texas, where they got their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by members of the Texas National Guard. The kids are the children of workers at border assembly plants known as maquiladoras.

Because the federal government controls vaccination efforts in Mexico, parents must file for a court injunction to get shots for their children or take them to the United States.

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