A Lubbock, Texas, TV investigative news team discovered groups of Mexican tourists flying in to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations. They fly in a private jet to eventually reach a CVS store for their appointments.
A KCBD NBC11 investigative team in Lubbock discovered a medical tourism operation bringing Mexican nationals for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at a local CVS. The discovery followed a tip from a resident who observed private jets landing at Lubbock International Airport carrying what appeared to be Mexican tourists.
The news team launched an undercover investigation where they staked out a Fixed Base Operator’s (FBO) facility at the airport. The FBO is where small general aviation aircraft park for refueling and local service.
The team observed a Cessna Citation III business jet land and offload a group of medical tourists, the local NBC affiliate stated. A check of flight records revealed the flight originated in Del Norte airport in Mexico. The flight initially landed in San Antonio, Texas, before proceeding to Lubbock the following day.
The team followed the group of seven to a CVS near Texas Tech University. When the group entered the store, they walked to the pharmacy section and checked in for their vaccination appointments. CVS told the news crew they require appointments for all COVID-19 jabs.
The KCBD Investigates team is shining a light on medical tourism; people flying to the United States from other countries in order to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a practice that’s bringing visitors right here to Lubbock. https://t.co/UXFOL4ifNo
— KCBD NewsChannel11 (@KCBD11) March 24, 2021
The news crew spoke with some of the tourists about an hour after they received their injections. The tourists admitted they were Mexican nationals visiting from outside the United States.
The brief interview follows:
KCBD: “We saw you in line and we were wondering if you’d be willing to talk to us?”
Tourist: “Sorry, I don’t speak English.”
KCBD: “I think you do. I think you do speak English. Where are y’all from?”
KCBD: “Where in Mexico?”
Our final question was never answered, as the group got in the vehicle and drove away.
The team followed up by contacting the flight charter service to inquire about the cost of airfare from Del Norte to San Antonio, Lubbock, and back. The service quoted an approximate cost of $30,000 to $40,000.
In January, Texas Governor Greg Abbott responded to complaints of foreign nationals crossing the border in South Texas for COVID-19 vaccinations. The Governor said that Texas vaccines are for Texans only, the article states.
However, patient privacy laws along with the mission to vaccinate as many people as possible created a loophole to create the lucrative medical tourism operation, KCBD reported.
Research by the news team revealed FAA records show the same aircraft flying from Mexico to six different Texas cities since February 1.
Texas Department of State Health Services announced on Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccinations will be available for all adults beginning March 29.