Coronavirus – Economic Issues

What is Vaccine Tourism?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Vaccine for covid

A couple of days ago, reports emerged of a Dubai-based tour operator offering a 24-day package tour from Delhi to Moscow that has included two shots of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine.

What is vaccine tourism?

  • In India, the term “vaccine tourism” became popular late last year when reports emerged of several tour operators offering packages to the US with the additional benefit of a vaccine shot.
  • Meanwhile, South Africans are said to be flying to Zimbabwe, Canadians and South Americans are traveling to the US for jabs, while tour operators in Europe are offering trips to Russia for Sputnik V shots.
  • It is said that Russia and the Maldives are already working on programs to offer people abroad the chance to get vaccinated during a visit; similar offerings are sprouting in the US as well.

Why is it gaining popularity?

  • In fact, vaccine tourism is an emerging trend in countries where vaccines are in short supply, or where certain groups are still restricted from being inoculated.
  • Still, there are only a few countries in the world (parts of the US, Russia, Slovakia, Zimbabwe, etc) that don’t restrict their vaccination policy to local residents.
  • Currently, it is not illegal to travel to a foreign country to get vaccinated if air travel is allowed.
  • Recently, Seychelles announced that only vaccinated visitors from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who have completed two weeks after their second dose are permitted to travel to and enter the island nation, with proof.

Can Indians go abroad to get vaccinated for Covid-19?

  • There may be no need for anyone from India to go abroad for vaccination since all eligible Indians will be vaccinated in the country by the end of this year – that too, at the most reasonable rates possible.
  • However, the idea of vaccine tourism is gaining momentum in India.
  • Many Indians, who fled to Dubai just before the international flight ban came into effect last month, are said to be availing of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm shots in the UAE.

Not to be confused with Vaccine Passport

  • Sometimes, vaccine tourism is confused with vaccine passports, which is a more regulated practice gaining currency around the world.
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