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Imperial County Health Department and UC San Diego Will Help Vaccinate Maquila Workers in Mexicali

-Editorial

Two years ago on March 8, 2020, the first suspicious case of COVID-19 was detected in Imperial County marking the beginning of a very dark time for the region. 

Because health has no borders, a binational collaboration was established to help vaccinate people in the industrial sector of Mexicali. The binational collaboration is led by the Imperial County Health Department, UC San Diego Health, the Consulate of Mexico in Calexico as well as INDEX Mexicali and Skyworks. Vaccination clinics will be held at the Calexico East Port of Entry on March 9th and 10th. 

“COVID-19 vaccines are a resource that has been widely accessible in Imperial County and I am extremely grateful that we have more than enough supply to meet the needs of Imperial County residents. Access, that for one reason or another, has not been as abundant for the Baja California community,” said Jeanette Angulo, Imperial County Director of Public Health. “COVID-19 does not know of borders; it severely and negatively impacted people on both sides of the border. Today, we show commitment and support to help our neighbors. 

The clinics will have 1,500 doses of the vaccine available. The Mexicali-based businesses will cover the administrative costs to offer the vaccine while the Imperial County Health Department and UC San Diego Health will provide the vaccine and staff for the two-day vaccination efforts. 

The necessity to have the COVID vaccine offered to individuals in Mexicali arouse from the limited access to vaccines in Baja California and the availability of vaccines in California. 

For Index Mexicali President, Joaquin Jimenez, this was the culmination of many months of work to help support those in the maquila industry and first responders. Jimenez said that while the industry was severely impacted during the height of COVID, they have bounced back in a strong manner since then. 

“At the beginning, we didn’t know too much but we implemented safety protocols that allowed us to work,” Jimenez said. “Our industry was one of the first ones to bounce back. Our Mexican labor force has been able to increase the productivity and efficiency of our plants not only in Mexicali but all of Mexico.”

UC San Diego Heal is a key partner in this effort.  

“No virus, especially one as virulent as COVID-19 doesn’t recognize borders. As we continue to address this pandemic and ensure equitable access to all individuals, UC San Diego Health is proud to be a partner,” stated Lydia Ikeda, Associate Chief Operating Officer with UC San Diego Health. “Our staff is eager to get to work, and begin helping to protect the health of our community on both sides of the border.”

UC San Diego Health currently administers the three vaccines that have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have provided 60 thousand doses since December 2020. 

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