California mayor says U.S. must help Mexico with COVID-19 vaccinations, otherwise border economy will lag

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (Border Report) — About a month ago, the city of Tijuana and other cities in the Mexican border state of Baja California began vaccinating healthcare workers.

Back then, health officials said their plan was to vaccinate most people by the fall.

But less than two weeks later, Mexico announced the number of vaccines promised was not going to be delivered in the immediate future. Since then, vaccinations have lagged.

According to a world COVID-19 vaccination tracking service, Mexico has vaccinated just under 720,000 residents. In comparison, the U.S. has inoculated 43.2 million people north of the border.

At this pace, Mexico would need more than 60 years to vaccinate 70% of its population.

“The vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been slow, it’s getting better, but in Mexico it’s been an absolute disaster,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

Dedina’s city lies just north of the border from Tijuana.

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina wants the U.S. to help Mexico with its vaccine roll out as a way to help speed up economic recovery along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“If Mexico remains unvaccinated, it could have huge implications for continued stagnation on the U.S-Mexico border,” he said

Dedina worries if Mexico continues to fall behind in terms of vaccinating people, it will ultimately hurt the economy of both countries along the southern border.

“We have cross-border trade, manufacturing in Tijuana that comes across the border not just into San Diego but the United States, huge volumes of tourists that are going both ways, workers that are going both ways, so it’s going to be imperative to help Mexico especially along the border region,” Dedina said.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial board, the San Diego-Tijuana region’s manufacturing supply chain is valued at $2.5 billion, generating an annual gross regional product of $255 billion. The numbers were compiled before the pandemic hit.

Dedina believes, as a way to save the border economy between the U.S. and Mexico, President Joe Biden and the United States have to get involved.

“I’m all for the Biden administration hopefully working with other countries with a ‘Global Marshall Plan,’ or we’re not going to get back to normal. We need to do this, especially for those of us who live along the border our economies depend on each other,” he said.

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