WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting they provide needed authorizations, resources, and guidance to ensure that border communities on the U.S. side of the border can donate unused vaccination doses near expiration to neighboring Mexican border communities.
“As you are aware, COVID-19 will not be fully controlled until there is a complete and coordinated global response,” wrote Rep. Grijalva. “Until that time, we are likely to face endemics, possibly in our country, and certainly in other countries that lack access to vaccinations. If COVID-19 continues to widely circulate in communities that connect with our international borders, then the risk to my constituents in these border communities will persist.”
The letter follows reports that the Biden Administration has formed working groups to assess the safety of reopening the U.S.-Mexico border to nonessential travel. Border businesses that rely on Mexican shoppers and foot traffic were uniquely impacted by the border closures during the public health emergency.
“I applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to begin the conversation about reopening the border,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Vibrant cross-border traffic is the lifeblood of the border economy, and small businesses have continued to face the negative impacts of border closures. By granting the counties request to donate vaccines that would otherwise be wasted, we can better ensure the safety of all border residents when the border reopens and nonessential travel resumes.”
Rep. Grijalva has long advocated for direct aid to border small businesses that have struggled throughout the pandemic. In January 2021, he introduced the Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Plan to provide small business loans to those negatively impacted by the unique economic injuries of the pandemic.
Click here to read the full letter.
Click here to read the Arizona Border Counties Coalition letter