Dr. Victor Treviño and his son, Victor Treviño, Jr., focus on vaccinating folks between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Since June of 2021, they’ve administered over 250,000 doses.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
We have been listening to Individuals discuss their lives and work in the course of the pandemic. Dr. Victor Trevino of the Laredo Well being Authority enacted the primary masks mandate within the U.S. on April 2, 2020. However for greatest safety, he felt he additionally needed to look throughout the Rio Grande.
VICTOR TREVINO: And Laredo has all the time had a wealthy historical past as a border metropolis that has all the time been intertwined in tradition, commerce and household with its sister metropolis of Nuevo Laredo.
SIMON: About 10,000 folks cross between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, every single day to work, store, to socialize. Dr. Trevino says, in the course of the pandemic’s first yr, the American facet was hit arduous.
TREVINO: Being that we’re a 95% Hispanic neighborhood, we’re disproportionately impacted. And we have been disproportionately impacted due to the truth that we’re medically underserved, with not sufficient docs or nurses or ICU area for a neighborhood our dimension.
SIMON: When the vaccines rolled out, there was hope that the pressure on Laredo’s medical amenities would ease. However it did not as a result of sick folks from Nuevo Laredo have been coming over for care.
TREVINO: Due to this, it is vitally necessary to attempt to get everyone vaccinated in the entire area. So we coined the time period regional immunity.
VICTOR D TREVINO JR: Dr. Trevino considered a singular alternative – that if we have been in a position to vaccinate our sister metropolis, that we might not solely scale back the quantity of individuals touchdown within the hospitals, however it could additionally save us an unimaginable quantity of assets that we wanted right here regionally.
SIMON: That is Dr. Trevino’s son, Victor D. Trevino Jr., an lawyer who helped launch a pandemic response together with his father. That distinctive alternative concerned getting surplus vaccine doses from across the state of Texas for residents of Nuevo Laredo.
TREVINO JR: These vaccines have been slated for disposal.
SIMON: The Trevinos acquired help from Texas and Mexican lawmakers, from different public well being officers, docs in Nuevo Laredo and from Customs and Border Patrol. The regional immunity effort began final June. Mexicans join, then on a delegated day, they board buses that take them to the checkpoint on a world bridge between the 2 cities.
TREVINO JR: We go up on the buses with a sq. contraption that we have created. In Spanish, it is known as a chicletera. It is what you promote sweet and gum from. And also you see them on the borders, little children promoting – these sort issues. However they work very properly in a closed atmosphere contained in the buses. We find yourself vaccinating a bus. Our common time is about 7 1/2 minutes per bus. We vaccinate the 50 to 60 folks on the bus. And so they return for extra folks.
SIMON: Victor Trevino Jr. says this system to this point has vaccinated greater than 250,000 folks from Nuevo Laredo. And in Laredo, Texas, it is diminished the variety of hospital visits from nonlocal residents by 50%. His father, Dr. Trevino, says this work has been necessary, and it has been gratifying.
TREVINO: Now I do know why Docs With out Borders do what they do – as a result of they see the necessity. They see that humanitarian effort is extra necessary than something. And that is one of many causes I grew to become a health care provider additionally, to do that. However now that now we’re doing this on this vogue – and folks say, when are you going to cease? And I say, I’ve no timeframe to cease it. If the necessity is there, we’ll proceed going.
SIMON: This week, Dr. Victor Trevino introduced that he is leaving the town’s well being authority. He will deal with sufferers full time once more. He is missed doing that. The vaccination program will proceed bus by bus over the Rio Grande.
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