Cross-border vaccination effort takes shape in Nogales | Local News

The Mexican Consulate in Nogales and the University of Arizona have organized COVID-19 vaccination clinics for residents of Nogales, Sonora, working with other partners in the United States and Mexico. Two of these clinics are scheduled this week at the Mariposa Port of Entry.

The effort is similar to a number of programs run by officials in border towns of California and Texas, primarily to vaccinate people who work in Mexican maquiladoras – the foreign factories along Mexico’s northern border that manufacture consumer goods for export – in excess or about to expire from the United States.

However, unlike vaccination programs in cities like San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas, which have been publicly announced and announced by leaders on both sides of the border, those who are behind the effort at Nogales doesn’t say much about it.

A staff member at the Mexican consulate in Nogales said on Wednesday he was strictly ordered not to disclose any information about vaccination clinics. The University of Arizona is also reportedly involved, but a communications specialist from the UA School of Public Health could not immediately provide information on Wednesday.

Jeff Terrell, director of health services for Santa Cruz County, said his office served as a consultant to the program, but did not provide any resources. He said he had no details on how it worked. A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health Services said there was no state-level cross-border vaccination program and the ADHS was not aware of any efforts to this type offered by other entities in Arizona.

US Customs and Border Protection, which operates the Mariposa Port of Entry, acknowledged its role in the clinics in a brief statement. CBP’s field office in Tucson, he said, “works with its stakeholders and provides a place for vaccine distribution by local health workers,” adding, “Vaccinees do not enter states. -United and after receiving the vaccine, (return) Mexico. “

Dr Zenen Padilla, director of public health in Nogales, Sonora, told NI on Wednesday that the municipal government has been working with the Mexican consulate on the logistics of cross-border vaccination clinics scheduled for the mornings of August 5 and August 2. 6 at the port of Mariposa.

And while similar programs on the California-Texas border have focused on maquiladora workers, Padilla said city officials have offered the 18-year-old general public the opportunity to get the shot this week. years and older. Last week, the city made first-come, first-served appointments for a total of 1,000 Johnson & Johnson doses.

“(The Mexican consulate) is supporting us with the vaccines and we are helping them with the logistics of registering people,” Padilla said, but added that he was not sure the source of the vaccine doses.

“We are fighting to get everyone vaccinated, to have wider coverage in Nogales, Sonora and Arizona, and to reduce the spread of infections,” he said.

Rumors circulated earlier this summer that buses carrying maquiladora workers had come to the port of Mariposa for U.S.-sourced vaccinations, but the NI was unable to confirm the information with official sources at the. era. However, sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke in the background on Wednesday said at least one local vaccination clinic had been held before.

In addition, the AU public health spokesperson joined on Wednesday, although he could not provide information on the operation of the clinics, provided a link to the unit’s Facebook page. AU Primary Prevention Mobile Health Center, which previously issued a solicitation seeking health professionals to give vaccinations June 21-22 at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry. The clinics were supposed to “provide vaccines to those who do not have documents to cross the US-Mexico border,” the advertisement said.

Previous cross-border vaccination efforts have apparently not involved the town of Nogales, Sonora. Padilla, the director of public health, said the clinics scheduled for this week were the only collaborative vaccination efforts he was aware of.

“This is the first time that the city council has done this with the Mexican consulate across the border,” he said. “We hadn’t had any other opportunity before.

It is not known why the consulate and the AU did not tout the Nogales vaccination program. Other efforts to give American vaccines to maquiladora workers received high profile in the media, including an in-depth story last week in the New York Times that featured the Mexican Consul in San Diego and the University of California San Diego Health, which helps run clinics in San Diego.

The lack of official information has opened the door to rumors that a local health service provider is now trying to correct.

The Mariposa Community Health Center, which has been responsible for the bulk of the COVID-19 vaccination effort in Santa Cruz County, contacted the NI on Wednesday for help in correcting information circulating about the social media that Thursday’s vaccination distribution would be held at MCHC.

“The event is being hosted by the University of Arizona at the Mariposa Port of Entry, not the Mariposa Community Health Center, using the J&J vaccine,” a MCHC spokesperson wrote in a statement. E-mail.

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