Borderland residents traveling to other counties for COVID vaccine

Local

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — While many wait on long lists to receive the vaccine, some are choosing to travel to surrounding counties to receive the COVID-19 vaccine faster.

One Borderland resident, Rebecca Flores, said she lives in Santa Teresa and was on multiple wait lists to receive the vaccine.

“I registered at UMC and I registered through the El Paso Strong website and then I also registered with the New Mexico health department in Las Cruces,” said Flores.

She told KTSM 9 News that she’s been registered since December and received emails from the hospital and the health departments, but had not received the vaccine.

Being that she and her husband are high-risk, she didn’t want to wait any longer, choosing to register in Alamagordo.

“The first phone call we did make, we were able to make an appointment within two weeks, we’ve had our first vaccine and are scheduled to go for our second one,” said Flores.

While others are actually planning to travel to the Borderland themselves in hope of getting the vaccine faster than where they live.

“We’ve heard about family friends and one of them — she lives in Florida — she’s going to come down here and get both sets of vaccines and then head back to Florida,” said Borderland resident Cesar Duarte.

KTSM 9 News asked City of El Paso officials about people traveling outside of the county to get vaccinated.

“I’m not encouraging people to leave town, but we’re not going to stop them,” said El Paso Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino.

D’Agostino reminded people that wherever you travel to receive your first dose is where you have to go to get your second, adding that if you already have your name on a list or an appointment, make sure you cancel.

“If you have already received your vaccination, we ask you to email us so we can take you off the list,” said D’Agostino. “We want to make sure to capture all those so we know where we’re sitting, so if they could communicate with us, it would assist us in tracking those individuals.”

He added that traveling outside of the county won’t affect the number of vaccines the county receives from the state.

“It’s going off of that target allocation and capacity and they know that our capacity to push vaccinations is a lot higher than the allocation we have, so I don’t see it reflecting on us in a negative way,” said D’Agostino.

As for when more doses of the vaccine will arrive to El Paso County as shipments have been delayed due to weather, D’Agostino said they will come, but they are not on the way yet.

“We’ve been allocating them. We know they’re coming, we just don’t have those shipping dates yet, so it’s early to tell. We don’t know when they’re going to come and we’re just waiting on that notification on when they actually go into transit,” he said.

According to Laura Cruz-Acosta, strategic communications director for the City of El Paso, “the State of Texas does not have residency requirements” for those looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

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