The surge of people coming across the U.S.- Mexico border are not only migrants hoping to be granted refugee status. Hundreds are boarding planes daily to get a coronavirus vaccination.
The pilot of a packed VivaAerobus 182-seat jetliner that landed on a recent Friday morning said Mexicans seeking the vaccine made up most of the passengers on the flight.
“It’s difficult to find the COVID vaccine in Mexico City,“ the pilot said in a San Antonio Express News report. “So everyone is coming to San Antonio.”
The newspaper reported on a couple that was on that flight:
Alberto and Patricia Flores arrived from Mexico with plans to see the River Walk and do some shopping over the weekend. First, they stopped at Walgreens for doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
The couple, like hundreds of other people flying daily from Mexico to San Antonio, are vaccine tourists on a quest to receive jabs in the arm and hoped-for protection against coronavirus — and usually to shop and dine while they’re here.
“COVID is a big problem in Mexico,” Alberto Flores said. “I know several people who have died.”
“We’re getting the J&J,” Alberto Flores said, citing that the J&J vaccine is just one shot as opposed to others that require two, which would require a second trip from Mexico to the U.S.
The Express News reported that less than 12 percent of the Mexican population has been vaccinated. Mexican airlines routinely have as many as 11 planes a day flying into San Antonio, mostly from Mexico City. Demand has caused increases in the number of daily flights. the Express News reported:
Vaccine tourists are also making the trip on private jets. A limousine driver interviewed at the airport said she had taken dozens of Mexican nationals to vaccine sites in the past several months — usually at an H-E-B [grocery store], Walgreens or CVS.
Unlike some states, Texas does not require those who are getting vaccines to be residents.
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