COVID Vaccine Donations to Mexican Border Towns May Speed Land Port Reopenings

A doctor inoculates a woman with a dose of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination campaign for seniors, at the Alba Caracas's hotel in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
AP Photo/Matias Delacroix

Marcelo Ebrard-Casaubon, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary, announced 1.3 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Mexico on Tuesday. The vaccines constitute the first shipment promised by the White House as part of Vice President Kamala Harris’ global plan to allocate 25 million doses.

The vaccines will be administered to residents of Mexican border communities between the ages of 18-39. The plan comes as the ban on non-essential border travel at ports of entry is set to expire the week of June 21.

The Trump administration travel ban has been in place since March 2020. The ban impacts all land crossings on the Canadian and Mexican borders. The restriction has proven unpopular over time among local business owners and government leaders who depend on day visa shoppers.

The vaccine rollout will likely begin no earlier than July, which could indicate the travel ban will be extended for at least one more month.

The move could also spell the demise of the CDC emergency COVID-19 border authority currently used to expel some migrants to Mexico immediately upon entry. This order has been in place since March 2020 as well.

According to the CDC, The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated. The estimated price tag to the United States per dose is $10.00. The price to the American taxpayer for this shipment is about $13 million.

Randy Clark
 is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.


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