Some luxury travel packages now include COVID-19 vaccine – KIRO 7 News Seattle

Some people who are tired of waiting for their COVID vaccine go on vacation to exotic destinations to get the vaccine. Vaccination vacations are becoming a big deal.

Traveling to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and England, they rely on skipping the line at home.

Others cross state borders to move up the list.

“They are taking the COVID pandemic and commercializing it,” said Steve Danishek of TMA Travel in Seattle. “Maybe it’s legal, maybe it’s not, it sure isn’t ethical, but it’s happening.”

Arthur Caplan of the NYU School of Medicine says it’s happening all over the world. “I know people who have been to Saudi Arabia, to the United Arab Emirates. Now you have to be pretty rich and have a lot of free time to do it, but I know people who have done it, ”said Caplan.

The Zenith site, based in India, has a section for “vaccine tourism”. You enter your name, contact details and when you want to travel. They send back an e-mail announcing the possible trips.

A package to the UK includes a 4 day stay. The leaflet says the trips include plane tickets, breakfast, sightseeing, and a COVID safety kit, but they cannot guarantee the price or availability of the vaccine.

“Medical tourism has been around for a long time,” Danishek said, “The idea of ​​putting together a package that includes the plane ticket and the hotel and all the necessary quarantines and the vaccine, the vaccine.”

They also sell trips from India to the United States. It includes a 4-day stay with a vaccine for approximately $ 2,000. But the company warns it is still awaiting FDA approval.

As vaccine tourism has started in India and the United Arab Emirates, Danishek says it is spreading.

It is often not clear exactly how you are going to get the vaccine.

“Whether you have a nice pharmacist who’s going to help you for $ 200 more is kind of a gray area. Is it legal? Maybe not, it is certainly not ethical, but it is being done, ”added Danishek.

Jeffery Smith is the Frank Shrontz Chair in Professional Ethics at the Albers School of Business and Economics at the University of Seattle. KIRO-7 asked Smith about the ethics of vaccine tourism.

“This is where I tell my students that ethics is being respectful of things that cannot be applied. It’s an internal regulator, I think the basic core of truth also applies in this case when people think about traveling, ”Smith said.

Florida has fought to reduce vaccination tourism. Last month, when 1.1 million people had been vaccinated, health officials discovered 39,000 were from out of state. They also found wealthy Argentines traveling to Miami.

“If tourism involves trying to get an edge to skip the line, then that’s obviously a problem because you’re sort of undermining why Florida has rules in place to make sure certain populations are served. “said Smith.

Others come from Canada to the United States.

Martin Firestone is a travel insurance broker in Toronto, Canada, where the vaccine is not expected until the fall. Many of his clients spend the winter months in Florida.

“They had no intention of going down this year. It wasn’t until the vaccine became available or they heard their friends who are in the community now say, “I’ve already had my first injection. Like, why don’t you come down? It got them to say now, “We’re ready and we’re heading down,” said Firestone, president of Travel Secure, Inc.

Washington must have reacted in January when it opened a vaccination site in southwest Washington at the Clark County Fairgrounds, and quickly found Oregon residents lining up. The Washington Department of Health has made it clear that the vaccine is for people who live or work in the state.

“What really worries me is that Washingtonians are waiting for the vaccine and they are either excluded or they have to wait longer,” said Dr Umair Shah, Washington’s health secretary.

Dr Shah has a warning for Washingtonians seeking a vaccine elsewhere.

“If we’re going to ask individuals to refrain from coming to Washington to get vaccines, we’re also going to say that these other states have every right to ask Washingtonians to refrain from coming to their states to get vaccinated. “

For those who are willing to take the risk, keep in mind that there is no guarantee of what you will get, even if you do get a photo.

“That’s the problem, you don’t know you’re getting a real vaccine,” Danishek said.