New Delhi, November 24: Medical tourism has become an extremely popular term over the past few years where travellers go abroad for health care procedures that they can’t get, or can’t afford in their own country. With COVID-19 pandemic around the world and every country working to develop their vaccine, tourism experts are of the belief that vaccine tourism will be one of the biggest travel trends in 2021.
What is Vaccine Tourism?
As the year comes to an end, there is clarity that several nations are in the final stages of their COVID-19 vaccine. The question which needs to be asked here is if a vaccine was not yet available in the US, would you fly to another country to get it? Vaccine tourism will be travelling to the country which develops the COVID-19 vaccine first and is more effective. So, for those who have the money to spend, they form the target audience for this tourism. COVID-19 Vaccine Covishield, Developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Would be Sold to Govt For Rs 250 Per Dose, Says Adar Poonawalla.
According to a Bloomberg report, a Chinese vaccine is being distributed now, and so far it seems to be safe and modestly effective. The Chinese vaccines are being distributed on a global basis, and are already in extensive tests in the United Arab Emirates. The timing is uncertain, but experts are of the opinion that delays on the US side it is entirely possible that in January 2021, one can get “good enough” vaccine in Dubai but not in Dallas. Here the decision will have to be taken on whether you are ready to travel to another country to get yourself vaccinated.
Here’s what a Mumbai-based travel company is offering:
Mumbai-based Gems Tours and Travel company is offering to fly those who want to get a vaccine dose to the US for a four-day stay for a cost of Rs 1.75 lakh. A message going viral on Whatsapp reads “As soon as the Pfizer vaccine is officially published to sell in America (tentative date December 11), we are ready to get done for a select few VVIP clients,” it says. The cost will include to-and-fro airfare from Mumbai to New York, a stay for three nights and four days with breakfast and one vaccine dose.”
Here’s the message that is being widely shared on WhatsApp:
Smell a gujju hustle pic.twitter.com/aMrJVlxNSD
— Kunal Shah (@kunalb11) November 23, 2020
LatestLY contacted on the number provided on the message and the company responded saying- “We are developing vaccine tourism”. The message further clarified saying, “We are not holding or procuring any vaccine. Everything we will arrange will be within the laws of the US. We will only process your requirements. Right now, no time frame can be committed. We do not collect any advance or deposits now. We just need your registration with us with your name, email, cell, age, anyone of physical complications and passport copy. Rest everything will be done as per official permissions of the health department there. Unless they announce official sales to people other than American citizens, we cannot get you the vaccine.”
Countries Fighting to Develop the Vaccine:
Covishield, a potential vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19), may get emergency authorisation from the Indian government in December if final-stage trials show positive results. Covishield is developed by the Oxford University and pharma giant AstraZeneca.
Moderna Inc, one of the leading vaccine manufacturers of the United States, announced that its vaccine candidate was found 94.5 percent effective in preventing coronavirus. The results were derived from the third and final phase of trials conducted by the biotechnology company.
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech could secure emergency US and European authorisation for their coronavirus vaccine in December 2020 after final trial results showed it had a 95 percent success rate. The drugmaker further informed that the deliveries could start before Christmas 2020 only if all things take place positively.
So Will Vaccine Tourism be the next big thing?
Whether vaccine tourism is unethical or not is difficult to say since medical tourism most definitely is ethical. A Bloomberg report says that on the one hand, “you might be taking a vaccine away from someone who needs it more. On the other, there is a comparable and probably higher risk that any government-approved vaccine allocation method, whatever it may be, will be less than morally optimal.” So as race stiffens, vaccine tourism will surely be a big trend in 2021.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 24, 2020 01:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).