With Mexico’s vaccination program lagging, rich Mexicans are flocking to the U.S.

With Mexico's vaccination program lagging, wealthy Mexicans are flocking to the U.S.

Right here within the wealthiest metropolis in Latin America, there’s nearly nothing cash can’t purchase.

Diamonds from Tiffany & Co. Baggage from Luis Vuitton. Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys.

However there’s one sought-after merchandise that isn’t available in San Pedro Garza Garcia: COVID-19 vaccine.

Mexico’s vaccine rollout has been painfully sluggish, with simply 4% of the nation’s 128 million residents having acquired a minimum of one dose. Healthcare analysts say that the unique goal of vaccinating a minimum of two-thirds of the inhabitants by August is a fantasy, and that inoculation efforts will stretch nicely into subsequent 12 months.

Now a lot of these with means are flocking to america for photographs.

“Mexico is lagging behind,” mentioned Mauricio Fernández Garza, a 70-year-old businessman who served three phrases as mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, a suburb of Monterrey in northern Mexico. “Lots of people have entry to america and they’ll shield themselves.”

Mauricio Fernández Garza, a former mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, is among the many rich Mexicans who’ve traveled to the U.S. to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Occasions)

In January, Fernández chartered a non-public jet to fly to Brownsville, Texas, after which drove to Los Fresnos, a farming neighborhood about 20 minutes away. He waited in a brief line at a vaccination website, offered his Mexican passport as proof of identification and acquired his first dose of the Moderna vaccine. He made the identical journey the following month for his second dose.

He estimated that a couple of thousand residents of his metropolis — which has a inhabitants of 120,000 and is residence to the headquarters of a few of Mexico’s largest firms — have additionally traveled north for vaccination.

Not that many would speak about it. Many Mexicans are loath to discuss getting vaccinated overseas, afraid of being labeled elitists.

Juan José Origel, a Mexican tv host, was pilloried on social media after he tweeted a photograph of himself receiving the shot in Miami, together with the phrase, “how unhappy that my nation didn’t present me with this safety!”

“With cash, you are able to do something,” one Twitter person responded.

“You’re with out disgrace,” wrote one other.

Different high-profile vaccine vacationers have been uncovered by the Mexican media. The information website Sin Embargo reported that two Mexican Supreme Court docket justices went to San Antonio to obtain inoculations.

The phenomenon highlights each Mexico’s deep inequalities and its wrestle to guard its residents towards the coronavirus.

Final week, the federal government right here publicly confirmed what many had lengthy suspected: The variety of folks misplaced to the pandemic is greater than 320,000, a lot greater than totals beforehand reported. The “extra dying” information counsel that Mexico ranks No. 2 in COVID fatalities, behind the U.S., which has recorded greater than 550,900 deaths, based on Johns Hopkins College.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned late final 12 months that Mexico had made offers to buy sufficient vaccine to inoculate your entire nation and that the tip of the pandemic was close to.

A masked woman with a clipboard, right, speaks to masked people seated at a vaccination site

A authorities website within the Villas de San Jose neighborhood in Juarez gives COVID-19 vaccination to eligible Mexican residents.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Occasions)

However the doses — from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, China’s CanSino Biologics and the British firm AstraZeneca — have been sluggish to materialize, and López Obrador’s rollout technique has been closely criticized. He has put an emphasis on first vaccinating the aged in rural areas, the place social distancing is usually simpler than in crowded cities, and has excluded medical professionals not working straight with COVID-19 sufferers.

Due to that, medical doctors, nurses and different well being staff who can afford it have been flying to the U.S. to get vaccinated, mentioned Francisco Moreno, who heads the COVID-19 unit of Mexico Metropolis’s non-public ABC Medical Heart.

Many have gone to rural areas of states similar to Texas the place there was an extra of vaccine.

Such journeys are anticipated to extend within the coming months as states throughout the nation, together with California, make their vaccine packages obtainable to all adults.

Mexicans who can afford to fly have a bonus, since land borders with Mexico are nonetheless closed to nonessential site visitors.

Well being officers say vaccine tourism is authorized. Solely about half of U.S. states require proof of residency for vaccinations, and none insist sufferers present proof of citizenship.

Nonetheless, the difficulty has sparked controversy in some American communities the place Mexicans have been turning up in giant numbers.

A woman wearing a white shirt and a mask is given a shot in the arm

Mary Sales space, 92, will get her COVID-19 vaccine at a medical facility in Edinburg, Texas.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Occasions)

“It’s not unlawful, however clearly they’re profiting from the system,” mentioned Texas state Sen. Eddie Morales, whose district hugs the U.S.-Mexico border.

The coverage of not requiring proof of residency was made in order that staff who’re within the U.S. illegally wouldn’t hesitate to get inoculated. However Morales mentioned that loophole is being exploited by rich international nationals, together with a dozen Mexicans who arrived in January on a non-public airplane within the small city of Pecos, acquired vaccinated and left.

“I used to be receiving calls from folks saying, ‘Hey, what’s happening? I can’t get a vaccine from my father who’s over age 65 and but these individuals are coming in and reducing in line,’” mentioned Morales, who introduced these considerations to the state’s well being commissioner.

After dealing with questions concerning the phenomenon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pressured that “Texas vaccines are for U.S. residents. Texas vaccines are for Texas residents.”

However there was no coverage change.

Among the many dozens of individuals getting their second Pfizer photographs Friday at a hospital advanced in Edinburg, Texas, have been a number of Mexican nationals.

Officers there mentioned they’d been been vaccinating about 2,500 folks every day. Dr. Robert Martinez, an official overseeing vaccines on the website, mentioned state officers instructed his crew to ask just for names and start dates.

“We’re not speculated to be asking different questions, handle or citizenship,” he mentioned. “In truth, they’ve requested us to not.”

“The intention is to vaccinate everybody,” Martinez mentioned. “There’s lots of people who dwell over there and work right here. We share lots of people who’re legally OK to return forwards and backwards.”

“For us, it’s a matter of the extra, the merrier,” he mentioned.

Laura Heflin, 60, a sheep farmer from McAllen who had introduced her great-aunt to get vaccinated, mentioned she had no drawback with guests from out of state or Mexico coming to Texas for photographs.

“We must always give it to anybody in line as a result of there are such a lot of rednecks who don’t need it,” she mentioned.

Her great-aunt, 92-year-old Mary Sales space, didn’t object both. “However deal with our native folks first,” she mentioned.

Many rich Mexicans who fly north to get vaccinated could have second properties and companies in america.

In San Pedro Garza Garcia, it’s not unusual for residents to have season tickets to Dallas Cowboys video games.

In an interview at his hillside property overlooking the town, Fernández, the previous mayor, talked up the financial advantages america enjoys from vaccine tourism.

“You spend some huge cash on meals and resort,” he mentioned. “The price of a vaccine is way lower than what you spend when you’re there.”

Linthicum reported from San Pedro Garza Garcia and Hennessy-Fiske reported from Edinburg. Cecilia Sanchez in The Occasions’ Mexico Metropolis bureau contributed to this report.

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Written by LessDaily.Com


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