Have you had your Covid vaccination yet? If you haven’t yet had your jab, perhaps you’re considering a vaccine holiday? Vaccine tourism is now available in parts of the US, Alaska, Europe, and Asia.
Vaccine tourism faces controversy, but vaccine tourists argue that it is better to have more people vaccinated than fewer. There are many reasons to book a vaccination holiday, but the main reason tourists might want to fly away for their vaccination is that their country of origin has been slow in scheduling their vaccinations.
The elderly, who Covid disproportionately damages, rightly get priority, leaving those in middle age and those who are younger, vulnerable to Covid. This portion of society can still pass Covid on, and many suffer from Long Covid for many months after contracting the virus. Even countries that are doing well in vaccinating their populations, like England, are still some way off vaccinating the younger 18-29-year-old group.
There are now several countries that tourists can travel to (subject to their home country allowing international travel) to get a Covid vaccination. In this article, we outline some of the best destinations for a vaccine holiday.
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While admittedly, this is not a beach destination, the vaccine tourism program offered by Alaska is one of the best, with convenient vaccination at airports. It is worth mentioning that the Alaskan authorities are keen on you staying for both vaccinations and the duration in between.
I spoke with their State health officials to find out the deal here. They said: “State health officials feel that there is an adequate amount of supplies of the vaccine to support the airport or traveler vaccination program that includes international visitors.
The plan is to have Pfizer, Moderna, and/or Jassen vaccines available at Anchorage and Fairbanks airports on June 1st for international tourists.
Second doses can be given at any vaccine site in Alaska. It does not have to be at the airport. If someone wants to wait a day or two and then get vaccinated at a community vaccine site, that is okay as well.
All vaccine sites have epi-pens on-site in case someone has an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
All vaccines are free. Administration fees are billed to insurance companies. International tourists are responsible for paying for any administrative fees if the vaccine provider charges. This is site-specific.
Tourists should stay in Alaska for their second dose.
Basically, Alaska does not want to attract quick turnaround chartered flights just for the vaccine. The purpose of vaccine tourism is to support the local economy. International tourists must also comply with CDC guidance found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html, which requires a negative test 3 days before travel.
If you’re looking for a more atmospheric setting for your Covid vaccine, how about having your vaccination at Bran Castle or Dracula’s castle? Although for this one, you need to be an EU citizen.
Bran Castle is running Pfizer / Johnson & Johnson vaccination marathons, with no appointment necessary. These are available every weekend (Friday: 14:00-20:00, Saturday: 10:00-20:00, Sunday: 10:00-18:00) until the end of June 2021.
Access to the vaccine is wide open to all foreign citizens with a Romanian residence permit and to all the EU citizens traveling/working in Romania, and, of course, to all Romanian citizens. In order to register, you need a valid EU passport or a valid residence permit issued by Romanian authorities.
Regarding the second shot, you can choose between Pfizer (last weekend for the first shot has to be 4th – 6th of June 2021) or Johnson & Johnson (one shot only).
With less wealthy countries falling behind more wealthy nations in their vaccination programs, people desperate to get vaccinated are now flying to the United States to receive protection against COVID-19. Many US States do not require residency for vaccinations, so travelers with a U.S. visa can get vaccinated on US soil even if they aren’t a US citizen.
If you are based in Mexico, Argentina, or another country in Latin American that allows international travel and can get a U.S. visa, you can take advantage of the hugely successful American vaccination program in certain states.
4. New York
New York is going a step further within the USA and is actively encouraging domestic tourists to come and visit whilst getting their COVID-19 vaccine at some of New York’s most iconic landmarks. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes that the immunization rollout will boost both tourism and overall vaccine numbers.
This is a good time for domestic travelers to visit New York, with one-third of New Yorkers already fully vaccinated and the state’s positive cases reaching a new low.
“We will be in Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park, the High Line, a variety of locations,” de Blasio said. There will also be other pop-up sites in Sunset Park and Flushing Meadows Park, per ABC 7, and the plan is to fully reopen New York City on July 1.
U.S. tourists will be injected at mobile vaccination centers with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose. There is currently no mention of the offer being extended to international travelers because of current federal regulations.
Talks between the EU and the US are ongoing over a vaccine passport with the possibility of summer travel between the two sides of the pond, although nothing has been confirmed.
5. The Maldives
The Maldives islands are currently open to all vaccinated tourists plus any other travelers who have a negative Covid-19 test result, taken not more than 3 days before arrival.
They have just launched a new tourism campaign, called ‘3V,’ for ‘Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation.’ Once all local residents have been offered the chance to take a vaccine, as reported by Condé Nast Traveler, jabs will be offered to anyone traveling to the Maldives on holiday.
6. San Marino
The Republic of San Marino, next to Italy, has announced the launch of a vaccine tourism program, offering the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 shot to visitors from May 17.
With no coronavirus patients currently in hospital, San Marino has decided to launch a campaign inviting tourists to get vaccinated with Sputnik V. “The vaccination tourism campaign will start on 17 May and will concern foreign non-Italian citizens,” said tourism minister Federico Pedini Amati.
Tourists must reserve hotel rooms at least one week before arrival and are required to have plans in place for a second trip, 21 to 28 days later, to receive their booster dose. Two doses will apparently cost 15 euros.
Zimbabwe has reportedly started selling its vaccines to tourists, despite only vaccinating less than 5% of its population. “Zimbabweans will get the vaccine for free, but for foreigners who come here, they will receive the vaccine at a cost,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. Rumors suggest that the cost of a vaccine in Zimbabwe is around $40 for each shot.
Last month, Pakistan became one of the few countries to allow the private sector to import and sell vaccines.
The import and sale of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine caused a frenzy of vaccinations with long queues.
According to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the Sputnik vaccine currently costs 12,000 Pakistani rupees ($80) for two doses.
Rumors have circulated that celebs have jetted off to Dubai for an early vaccine. Still, the UAE government has said that only those with a residence permit can receive Covid vaccines, so this is not the destination to book.
10. The Future
It seems likely, as governments get on top of vaccinating their own populations, more and more countries will offer that vaccination holidays. Countries that rely on tourism will use vaccinations as a way of attracting tourists.
It’s easy to judge vaccine tourists as not being ethical and for not waiting in line like everyone else, but if you have worked hard for your money and can keep your family safe by traveling to a destination to vaccinate your loved ones to keep them safe legally, is that wrong?
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