Inequality, discrimination for unvaccinated migrants in northern Mexico


By Guadalupe Peñuelas

Ciudad Juarez, Aug 9 (EFE).- Human rights activists in Mexico are urging the government to include migrants in its vaccination scheme as the immunization of vulnerable groups on the northern border of Mexico progresses unevenly, fueling discrimation and inequality.

“So far we have not received any indication to start vaccinating, despite the fact that the 17 shelters are at approximately 90% of their capacity. If this segment of the population is not vaccinated, the vaccination scheme is incomplete, they should also be immunized,” Rogelio Pinal, director of Human Rights of Ciudad Juarez, told Efe.

The urge for the vaccination of migrants comes as Mexico experiences an aggressive third wave of coronavirus driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, which has brought the number of contagions and deaths in the country to 2.97 million cases and 244,420 deaths.

Even though Mexico has administered some 72.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, the jabs have been distributed unequally across the country.

While in the northwestern state of Baja California over 4,000 migrants have been vaccinated, migrants in Ciudad Juarez, in the state of Chihuahua, are still waiting for the vaccine to arrive.

“I feel discriminated against because they haven’t given us the vaccine, having the vaccine would be helpful,” said Juana Lopez, a migrant from southern Mexico who arrived in Ciudad Juarez on July 22 and has since been waiting for US authorities to grant her political asylum.

“If migrants were vaccinated there would be fewer infections, we are afraid, uncertain, we are afraid of getting infected and we have no peace of mind. In the shelter they do tests, but we are afraid of catching the disease,” said Carina Castro, originally from Ecuador.

In Matamoros, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the vaccination of migrants is also progressing slowly. Activists there are waiting for Mexican authorities to inoculate those waiting in shelters to cross to the US, as only residents of the state were eligible to receive the jab.

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