Older asylum-seekers at Tijuana migrant camp demanding COVID-19 vaccine

Border Report

An unauthorized tent city just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana reportedly now holds up to 1,000 migrants. Some are now asking for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Jorge Nieto/Special to Border Report)

TIJUANA (Border Report) — It’s been widely documented that older people are more susceptible to COVID-19, and for this reason, older adults living at a migrant camp just south of the border in Tijuana are demanding they get vaccinated.

But as of right now, Baja California health officials claim they don’t have any plans to offer the vaccine to any of the migrants living at the campsite, which has now grown to as many as 1,000 people.

Tania García, a legal coordinator for migrant affairs in Tijuana, said the state’s secretary of health has not approached any shelters about the possibility of immunizing anyone including migrants 60 and older.

“The subject of the vaccine in general has not been broached by health authorities as far as making it available in shelters in spite of the fact we do have older residents with delicate health conditions,” she said.

García went on to say another stumbling block is that many of the migrants don’t have government issued identification documents, a prerequisite for anyone getting the vaccine in Baja California.

“I approached the health secretary about removing this requirement because many don’t have it for various reasons, we need to figure out a way to get these people the vaccine,” she said.

Pro-migrant activists have begun pushing the state to offer the vaccine to asylum-seekers at the border camp and at shelters around the city.

But state and city and city officials have insisted the general population will have priority for the time being.

It’s estimated that 36 percent of foreign migrants now living in Tijuana shelters are not only older adults, but people in high-risk groups.

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