In early 2021, the Pacific Council's Mexico Initiative covered the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination at the U.S.-Mexico border and related issues, including vaccine sharing with Mexico. Below is a review of that project.
In March 2021, the Biden administration pledged to supply Mexico and Canada with excess doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Mexico will receive 2.5 million doses and Canada will receive 1.5 million. The Pacific Council applauds this effort and encourages the administration to go even further for global health, economic, and geopolitical reasons.
In a CNN op-ed published before the White House's announcement, Council Director and Mexico Initiative Chair Michael Camuñez called for Mexico to be first in line when the Biden administration releases surplus vaccines to other countries, which he called not only the right thing to do, but also the strategic thing to do. From a health perspective, Mexico is lagging in vaccine deployment and is the primary transit nation for thousands of Central American refugees. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is nearly 2,000 miles long and not immune to the spread of COVID-19.
Also, Mexico is one of the largest trading partners of the United States, and our economy is intricately linked to Mexico. Our recovery depends on theirs.
Finally, countries like China and Russia are rushing to utilize so-called "vaccine diplomacy" to generate soft power and goodwill around the globe, a missed opportunity so far for the United States. If we can step in now, it is also a chance for the Biden administration to strengthen its relationship with Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis supports the Biden administration's continued aid to Mexico in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. She particularly mentioned the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur as they both have strong tourist and economic ties to the state of California. The governors of both states are grateful for the intervention before the national government and maintain the importance of vaccine sharing in the region. Read more.
Emerging Crisis at the Border / Friday, April 2 / 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PT / Open to the public
Learn more about the growing migration surge at the U.S.-Mexico border from Essey Workie of the Migration Policy Institute and Tom K. Wong of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at UC San Diego. Register here.