Vice President Kamala Harris will reportedly discuss sending more than a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to authorities both north and south of the United States-Mexico border amid concerns that infected migrants could be fueling outbreaks in Texas border towns.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said over the weekend that he plans on discussing the matter with Harris in a phone call Monday and that he believes that the United States will ship around 1.35 million doses of the vaccine to Mexico and Central America this week.
The U.S. has already sent millions of vaccines to Mexico and to Central America to help limit the extent of the pandemic, but more are now required
“We’re going to talk on Monday in order to keep working on our joint agenda of collaboration,” Lopez Obrador said on Sunday. The Daily Mail added that he “did not provide any further details” but “aid he expects a shipment of 1.35 million vaccine doses from the U.S.”
“There are commitments for us to have more vaccines, provided by the United States government,” he added.
Mexico has struggled through the pandemic, and the United States has reportedly already sent an estimated 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the country’s government to distribute. Now, though, there appear to be renewed concerns about the COVID-19 virus, partly because of the delta variant, and partly because it appears migrants, positive for COVID-19, are being released in Texas border towns.
Last month, the Washington Examiner reported that “a record-high 7,000 migrants were released in downtown McAllen, [Texas], where they were immediately tested for the coronavirus through a city contractor. More than 1,500 people tested positive over the past seven days, according to a city document issued Wednesday, compared to a total of 7,000 confirmed cases over the past five months. Those who test positive are told to quarantine for two days but are ultimately released into the public.”
On Saturday, NBC News added that “[m]ore than 18 percent of migrant families and 20 percent of unaccompanied minors who recently crossed the U.S. border tested positive for COVID on leaving Border Patrol custody over the past two to three weeks, according to a document prepared this week for a Thursday briefing with President Joe Biden.”
The outlet also noted that around 25% of immigrants scheduled for an “expedited” deportation flight have tested positive for the virus and that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not test migrants in custody unless they show symptoms.
“Migrants are not tested for Covid in Border Patrol custody unless they show symptoms, but all are tested when they leave Border Patrol custody, according to DHS officials,” NBC said. “Immigrants who are allowed to stay in the U.S. to claim asylum are given tests when they are transferred to ICE, Health and Human Services or non-governmental organizations. Deportees who are scheduled to be put on planes out of the U.S. are tested for Covid and other infectious diseases by ICE.”
There are, currently, around 15,000 immigrants in CBP custody.
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