Busing, escorting thousands of Mexican workers into California for COVID-19 shots quite an undertaking

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SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — For the second day this week, 1,500 workers lined up bright and early and slowly trickled into the U.S. through a gate and under the concertina wire at a California port of entry to get vaccinated at a mobile clinic just north of the border.

The goal is to inoculate 10,000 maquiladora workers this week, and if it all works out, continue vaccinating people in the weeks ahead.

“Ten thousand employees who work at six United States manufacturing facilities in Baja will be vaccinated,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

Fletcher says the American companies are paying for the vaccines and the medical personnel who are administering the shots.

Maquiladora workers file in through a gate into U.S. at San Ysidro Port of Entry between Tijuana and San Diego. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

The state of California is providing “excess vaccines” to the effort. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, UC San Diego Health, the Mexican Consulate in San Diego and business leaders from Baja California are also involved.

“We already have a lot more people ready to participate, we have to make this first pilot perfect so we can start working to try to make a second, a third and so on,” said Luis Lutteroth, president of Tijuana’s Economic Development.

The workers are being bused from factories in Tijuana to the Ped West pedestrian crossing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which has been closed throughout the pandemic, and are allowed to gain access into U.S. soil where a mobile tent facility has been set up.

The Johnson & Johnson brand of the vaccine is being administered since it requires just one dose.

A mobile clinic has been set up just north of the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to vaccinate maquiladora workers from Mexico. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“This will help protect the working population; it can help slow disease transmission and speed up production and shipment of goods between the U.S. and Mexico,” said Fletcher. “We need this economic workforce to be healthy.”

Earlier this week, Fletcher said the County of San Diego requested the vaccines being applied on Mexican workers from the state of California.

“Because of excess vaccines we have in California, we are in position to do this incredible partnership and this is the right thing to do.”

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