There are different types of tourism around the world. For instance: agritourism, astrotourism, whatsoever. However, vaccine tourism may sound a little unfamiliar. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many fields, and tourism is one to suffer changes as well.
In this blog, we intend to walk you through the questions you might have about vaccine tourism, including the legality, prevalent destinations, etc.
What is vaccine tourism?
Too many people travel to different parts of the world for medical purposes. For instance, breast implants, dental implants, etc. However, so far, a brand new tourism type has appeared: vaccine tourism.
The term “vaccine tourism” means visiting another state or country to get vaccinated to what you do not have access to at home. So far, vaccine tourism sleeps around the COVID-19 vaccine. The so-called vaccine has recently had a slow rollout in many states and is still not accessible for all people worldwide.
In the US and communities with the vaccine, some populations are of high priority, such as health care providers and seniors. However, people who are not a part of these categories have been jumping the line by traveling elsewhere to receive the vaccine.
Is vaccine tourism legal?
So far, no official arrangements have taken place with foreign authorities, so there is no guarantee that you will receive the vaccine you’re promised. The case also applies to people with money or connections traveling elsewhere to get a COVID-19 vaccine while others wait for their turn.
Some countries are against vaccine tourism. For instance, in the UK, you can only get the vaccine when your doctor has offered it, confirming your address at your vaccination appointment. It’s a free vaccination through the country’s National Health Service, so you can not jump the line in any circumstances.
However, in the US, where still vaccine is available, each state has its particular rules and procedures:
- Local public health centers offering portals to make vaccination appointments
- Canters hosting mass vaccination events based on first-come, first-served vaccination
In general, doctor’s offices ask people not to call them for vaccine appointments but to wait to be contacted.
Why is vaccine tourism widespread?
From Mexico to Argentina, many Latin Americans take flights to the United States to benefit from one of the world’s most effective vaccination campaigns, as such facilities are not provided in their home country.
Latin America is one of the countries that has been affected by COVID-19. The death rate is estimated to surpass 1 million this month, and people can’t wait any longer for their turn.
Some people prefer to go alone. However, some others trust travel agencies, which have offered packages to arrange the vaccine appointment, flights, hotel stays, in addition to providing tours.
Gloria Sanchez, and her husband, who are Mexicans in their late sixties, have traveled in April to Las Vegas to get Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. She admits:
“We don’t trust the public health in this country. If we hadn’t gone to the United States, I wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated.”
As US cities have caught on to the trend, hotels, restaurants, and other service activities have risen lately.
How many people have currently been vaccinated in the US?
A hundred million Americans have got the second shot or a one-shot vaccine. Two hundred twenty million Americans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as declared by White House officials.
“It’s 100 million Americans with a sense of peace of mind, knowing that after a hard year, they’re protected from the virus,” claims White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.
What are the most prevalent vaccine tourism destinations?
The US is producing more COVID vaccines than anywhere in the world currently. As a result, foreign people are desperately seeking to get these vaccines.
Thousands of Mexicans and Latin Americans have traveled to the United States to get vaccinated. So far, the top destinations are as follows:
- Las Vegas
The Mexico City newspaper, La Jornada, reports 400,000 vaccinated Mexican citizens in the United States, with 1.2 million planning over the year.
There are nearly 20 states in the US without residency requirements to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, a more straightforward solution than having people travel to the US for vaccine motives is to send the vaccine to them.
President Biden recently claimed that an additional 20 million doses of vaccines would be sent by the US to other countries, on top of the prior pledge of 60 million doses.
What is the fee for COVID-19 vaccination?
There is no need for out-of-pocket costs while getting the vaccine. The federal government covers the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can require a fee for administering the shot, but not from the consumers. The insurance company or the government should refund them.
According to Nevada’s plan, the COVID-19 vaccination is free. However, there are some fraud offers of COVID vaccines that charge you. However, AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
Why are people traveling for a vaccine?
Ever since the COVID-19 vaccines are developed to protect everyone from the so-called virus, their global distribution has been extremely unequal and slow. It’s sad to admit that some countries have begun to store the excess vaccine while others are still infecting the virus. For example, in Europe, less than ten percent of the total population have received the first dose. Because of the vaccination priority, many people still have not received the vaccine.
This fact has provoked many people with dual nationalities or multiple residencies to book ships, planes, trains and buses to cross borders to receive the vaccine faster than they would in their home country.
Hazards of vaccination tourism
Traveling for a vaccine to other countries increases the spread of Coronavirus. So as you may receive your vaccine, you may cause danger to the destination society.
In addition to the dangers you may cause, some people think it’s unethical to receive the vaccine way before the people of your age in your home country. While some others think vaccination tourism dthe pace of global vaccination.
The US travel COVID-19 restrictions
Reuters has reported that the White House has considered requiring foreign visitors to be vaccinated to relax travel restrictions. But, unfortunately, not all cities in the U.S. provide vaccines for tourists. Howsoever, working groups are generating a policy to prepare when the time is right for transition to this new system.
Some countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, are lifting restrictions for vaccinated Americans to travel.
COVID vaccine accepted in the USA
The White House has organized discussions with airlines about implementing a policy of requiring vaccines for tourists. The administration will also answer questions about what proof it would accept of vaccination and whether the United States approves vaccines that some countries are using but have not yet been authorized by U.S. regulators or not.
The United States recently bars non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have traveled to the United Kingdom and the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls.
The White House had focused on requiring vaccines for almost all foreign visitors that arrive by air.
Authorized travelers to cross the US by land
Currently, the only foreign travelers permitted to cross by land from Mexico and Canada are essential workers like truck drivers or nurses.
The period of this administration was not precise with the existing restrictions. However, the official reiterated that infections will likely increase in the weeks ahead and that the United States will keep existing travel restrictions.
The final decision
The restrictions have divided loved ones and have prevented some people who work in the United States from returning to their home countries and others from seeking employment.
The White House has been discussing the potential of obligating COVID-19 vaccines for international visitors. However, still, no specific decisions are made.
The Biden administration has told U.S. airlines to establish international contact for passengers before they lift travel restrictions.
Recommendations for tourists who have not fully received the COVID-19 vaccine
If you are not fully vaccinated and still have to travel, take the following steps to take care of yourself and others from COVID-19:
Before you travel
- Get COVID-tested 1-3 days before your trip
- Ensure you follow all airline requirements related to quarantine, which may differ from other countries’ requirements. If you do not meet your destination’s requirements, you may not be able to enter and are required to return to your home country.
- Check the COVID-19 condition in your destination.
While you are traveling:
- Wearing a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth is obligatory on planes, trains, buses, and other public vehicles you are traveling with. You are not mandated to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance. However, we recommend that not fully vaccinated travelers keep wearing masks and physical distance when traveling.
- Avoid crowds and keep away at least 6 feet from everyone.
- Wash your hands usually or use hand sanitizer (that contains at least 60% alcohol).
Before you arrive in the United States
All air passengers that come to the United States, along with U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, must have a negative COVID-19 viral test result for less than three days before travel unless they must have evidence of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they reserve a flight to the United States.
After you travel
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel
- Stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after the trip
- Even if you have tested negative, stay home and self-quarantine
- If your test result is positive, isolate yourself to keep others from getting infected
- If you don’t want to get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for ten days after travel
- Avoid being around people at high risk for severe illness for 14 days, in case you get tested or not
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
- Follow all state recommendations or requirements
- Know where to get tested in case of emergency.
Which cities and states in the US offer COVID-19 vaccines to tourists?
When the vaccination campaign was extending in the US, some people were scared that travelers would attempt to get vaccinated in the country and spread the virus all over the US. Some others thought the Americans might lack vaccines because of vaccine tourists.
Later, some cities and states began to volunteer to offer foreigners COVID-19 vaccines to attract more tourists get to the country, while society´s immunity would increase.
At San Francisco International Airport, anyone who can pass through customs can get a free shot only if they do not recently have COVID-19 and are at least 18 years old.
Some cities in the US are offering visitors a single-dose Johnson & Johnson without prior appointment. For example, New York has been offering vaccine doses through vaccination hubs like Times Square since May.
The Alaska state has followed this route as well. Alaska authorities have provided the vaccine tourist the opportunity to receive a dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, whichever they select, as they arrive at airports across the state.
Other states offer vaccine tourists their surplus in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
COVID-19 Vaccine tourism in Las Vegas
Experts say there is no worry for residents because Nevada has plenty of COVID-19 vaccines to provide citizens with.
“At this point, there’s a lot of vaccines available for anybody who wants it.” says infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Brian Labus. “So if people cross borders, it’s not a big deal because, in the end, it leads to our goal of getting everyone vaccinated in the country.”
“If they come to Vegas many times a year, getting vaccinated here, when they visit again, they’re not going to spread disease into Las Vegas. So we don’t care; we want people vaccinated,” He claimed.
There are many health centers that offer COVID-19 vaccines. As Las Vegas does not require residency proof, the vaccine tourists are free to take COVID-19 shots. That’s why Las Vegas has become one of the top destinations of vaccine tourism.
Vaccine tourism has been widespread recently, as many countries suffer from the lack of vaccines. The US is one of the most prevalent destinations in respect.
Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center provides Cvoid-19 tests in Las Vegas.
There are other occupational health tests, screens, and services provided by SNOHC. give us a call at (702) 874-4769 to know more about our services and guarantee you occupational health.