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Vaccine tourism: which countries opened free immunization for travelers and how they implemented it

The government of Alberto Fernández wants to add Argentina to a small group of nations that today vaccinate foreigners who come on vacation to their respective territories against the coronavirus.

In the midst of the first wave of the pandemic, thousands of Argentines flew in crowded planes to Miami to take advantage of the possibility of getting a free vaccine against Covid-19 in the state of Florida. Then in the country the first immunizations began to be applied and the trips to Miami Beach became a constant of the wealthy middle class that chose to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Soon the list spread to New York, Texas, Arizona, Alaska, and Louisiana. Even the US Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean, pioneered the vaccination of tourists since March of this year.

However, with the advance of vaccination in the world, the so-called “Covid tourism” to the United States began to decline. As of November 8, Argentines who want to travel to that country will have to be vaccinated with a formula authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that is, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, as well as AstraZeneca-Covishield, Sinovac, and Sinopharm (approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use).

Those who enter the country must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to travel and submit a negative test of Covid-19 made a maximum of 72 hours before the trip. Both PCR and antigen will be accepted.

What is happening in Latin America with vaccine tourism

Panama became a pioneer in vaccine tourism among Latin American nations. The Central American country began on October 1 to vaccinate against Covid-19 tourists who arrive in the country and wish to do so. The initiative “Vacutur Panama”Seeks to boost tourism and the economy, badly hit by the pandemic. However, you must have a reservation of at least two nights of stay.

“We have entered the phase that we are doing vaccine tourism with AstraZeneca, where we have arranged (doses for) approximately 200,000 visitors” 18 years of age and older and at no cost, summarized the Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre.

In South America, Uruguay announced its willingness to vaccinate tourists, although without specifying deadlines. The country will open its borders to tourism next Monday and is analyzing applying doses to vacationers who arrive in the country. “It is one of the proposals that we have on the table by the Ministry of Tourism. It is a path that we are exploring, ”said President Luis Lacalle Pou.

According to the newspaper The country, the health authorities foresee that foreigners can sign up for vaccination five days after arrival. This is because to enter the country it is necessary a negative PCR with no more than 72 hours old and another one done a week.

In the Ministry of Public Health they said that after five days only the possibility of accessing a shift to get vaccinated will be enabled.

Another country interested in opening up to the vaccination of tourists is Cuba, which will reopen its doors to tourism on November 15 with the elimination of the mandatory quarantine. “We are working if possible in offer vaccines for all customers who visit us”, Affirmed the Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García.

What happens in Europe with vaccine tourism

Outside the European Union, Serbia offers tourists the possibility to get vaccinated and even choose the vaccine among Pfizer, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm. Even in the first part of this year, there were travel agencies that offered the service.

This phenomenon also occurs in Russia, where tourism agencies offer trips with vaccination included with Sputnik V. However, the Russian authorities did not give authorization for tourists to be immunized upon arrival in the country.

What is the situation with vaccine tourism in Asia

Vaccine tourism in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is also practiced in the Maldiva’s Islands and in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

The Maldives, a paradisiacal territory in the Indian Ocean, carries out a plan called “Visit, vaccinate an vacation”(Visit, vaccination and vacations) to attract international tourism. Visitors must present a negative PCR test upon arrival, along with a hotel reservation.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the year, in Dubai tourist packages were organized that included vaccination against Covid-19, according to the newspaper The Telegraph.

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