The governor-elect of Nuevo León and his influencer wife were among 800 residents of the northern border state who crossed into the United States aboard 40 buses on Wednesday to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Accompanied by federal and state security forces, three fleets of buses departed Monterrey on a staggered schedule Wednesday morning to travel about 300 kilometers to the border city of Laredo, Texas, where governor-elect Samuel García, his wife Mariana Rodríguez and employees of companies such as pharmacy chain Farmacias del Ahorro, PepsiCo, building materials firm Cemex and budget airline Viva Aerobus were given shots.
All of those vaccinated were aged under 40 and had not yet had the opportunity to get a jab in Nuevo León, which ranks third in Mexico for total coronavirus case numbers behind only Mexico City and México state.
“… It’s an opportunity for young people to get the vaccine. It’s an opportunity for them to look after their health and that of their family,” said García, who organized the initiative intended for the employees of manufacturing businesses that export products to the U.S.
Another 37 busloads were forecast to make the trip Thursday, with more to follow next Monday.
“We wholeheartedly thank the United States government, which knows that Nuevo León and the northeastern region of the country are key actors for [economic] growth,” he said.
The United States’ southern border remains closed to nonessential travel from Mexico but there is optimism that it will reopen soon as vaccination rates continue to rise on both sides of the border.
García described yesterday’s trip as a complete success, asserting that it sent a message to all citizens about the importance of getting inoculated against Covid-19, which has claimed more than 250,000 lives in Mexico, according to official figures.
“… [The trip] was very well-organized and ultra-protected [by the security forces],” said the governor-elect, who will take office in October.
“… The path to health is to vaccinate ourselves; we have to set the example that there is no other way out of [the pandemic].”
Additional convoys of buses will take more Nuevo León residents into Texas to get vaccinated today and in the coming days. There is a glut of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States and they are widely available to non-U.S. citizens, a situation of which many Mexicans have taken advantage. The U.S. government has also supported Mexico’s vaccination efforts by sending millions of doses south.
Domestically, more than 78.7 million shots have been administered since the vaccination drive began on December 24, the federal Health Ministry reported Wednesday. About 43% of the entire population of Mexico has received at least one dose, according to The New York Times vaccinations tracker, while 23% of the country’s approximately 126 million residents are fully vaccinated. Just over six in 10 Mexican adults – Mexico has not yet started administered shots to people under 18 – had received one shot as of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the delta variant-driven third wave continues to surge. A single-day record of almost 29,000 confirmed cases was reported Wednesday, lifting Mexico’s accumulated case tally to 3.15 million. The Health Ministry also reported 940 additional Covid-19 fatalities, increasing the overall death toll to 250,469.