coronavirus pandemic

Doctors Warn Against Crossing Into Mexico for COVID-19 Vaccine

NBC 7 Responds looks at the new warning as vaccines continue to be given out across the state and nation

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New vaccination sites are opening across the state. and, as people are waiting for their turn and sitting in lines, some doctors are warning against looking for the vaccine in other countries.

"You can buy medication," said Dr. Raziel Custodio, a general practitioner in Tijuana. "A lot of patients go to Mexico to get over-the-counter medication they won't be able to in the States. But any kind of vaccine -- you cannot buy it in Mexico."

Many San Diegans are used to visiting pharmacies in Tijuana. In fact, Custodio said that 90% of his patients are from the U.S. and that many of them are interested getting the vaccine.

The Vaccination Super Station near Petco Park is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, and eeman agrama captured a timelapse of the lines on Jan. 13, 2020.

"They want to get the vaccine in Mexico, and it's going to be cheaper," Custodio said.

The Mexican government has its army distributing the vaccine, along with doctors and big hospitals. Custodio said the vaccine will not be available anywhere else and will not be easily accessible to U.S. visitors.

"Not only COVID," Custodio said. "Influenza -- flu -- just over the counter? No. It has to be under doctor's prescription at special pharmacies."

That means that most people who are offered the vaccine in Mexico won't be getting the real thing. Custodio said that if someone is offered a shot outside the government's distribution chain, it is likely fake and may be dangerous.

With the “Vaccination Super Station” set up in downtown San Diego, officials are looking at ways to speed up the state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has information for you.

"Whatever you're buying, it won't be a vaccine," Custodio said. "It will be something but it will be a total scam."

Even if the vaccine seems legitimate, Custodio warned, people should be very suspicious if someone offers to get it for them

"We don't know how that vaccine has been managed and it's something you're going to put in your body," Custodio said. "Don't even try it. It's something that can put your life in danger."

Custodio said that you should wait to get the vaccine until it's your turn and not try to find it on your own.

"Don't cross the border to try and get a vaccine," Custodio said, "even if it has a stamp or a home page, because it's highly probable that page is not legitimate."

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