June 4, 2023

Not far from the U.S. border, hundreds of men, women and children lined up for an hour in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, for a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The line is here almost every day,” said Dr. Victor Treveño.

Treveño works on the other side — in Laredo, Texas — but is leading a bilateral effort to distribute donated vaccines here.

“The reason is that we are a community and anything that affects them affects us and vice versa … Both of our communities are 150 miles from major cities, so we have to meet our needs locally,” he said.

So, with approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the team devised a way to bring people to a safe location at the port of entry. The location was chosen because the United States did not want to export vaccines that were paid for with U.S. taxes.

But many of the vaccines being distributed are just days away from expiring, and no one is taking them. So the American doctors took them to a crowded place. Especially eager to get them are parents with children under the age of 5 who are not yet eligible for vaccinations in Mexico.

Josefina Guerra is identical to her two grandchildren. They were here for a second shot, she told CBS News.

After the car was parked, Trevenho got into the car with other doctors and nurses, and the gunshots and crying began, followed by gratitude from adults like Guerra.

Guerra said she has high blood pressure and diabetes, so the vaccine is very important to her.

On the way back, some of the kids showed their arms and they shot there. One kid said he didn’t cry, he was strong because he played baseball.

Nuevo Laredo Mayor Carmen Lilia Canturosas said the vaccination of children brought a milestone for her city: They were the first in Mexico to vaccinate children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years.

In a little over a year, the bilateral program has vaccinated 250,000 people.

“I love it, it’s very satisfying,” Treveno said. “We do it because there is a need, we have a need, and we step up.”

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