Mexico to step up border vaccinations to get frontier back to normal

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Asylum-seeking migrants are seen before crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S Border Patrol agents to request for asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., in Ciudad Juarez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico aims to roll back pandemic-induced restrictions on its shared frontier with the United States by speeding up vaccinations of its border population against COVID-19, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

Ebrard, Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez and other officials met with U.S. Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas in Mexico City, and the foreign minister said he had set out his government's plan to hasten vaccinations.

Writing on Twitter, Ebrard said Mayorkas indicated that his priorities were facilitating trade, tourism and travel.

"We were in agreement," Ebrard said, noting that vaccinations were being accelerated to get back to normal in the border region "as fast as possible."

Earlier on Tuesday, Mexico received a consignment of some 1.35 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the United States that will go toward inoculating Mexican border residents aged 18 and above, the government said.

The goal is to ensure Mexico's frontier cities have the same level of protection against COVID-19 as U.S. cities so there is no longer an argument to uphold restrictions, Ebrard said.

Mayorkas also met with Mexican Finance Minister Arturo Herrera, and the two agreed to work together to modernize the Mexican customs offices, Herrera said on Twitter.

(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Giles Elgood, Steve Orlofsky and Dan Grebler)

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