Industry Update
External Article22 January 2021

Vaccine Tourism Replaces Vacation Travel

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Americans are hitting the road again. But they're not traveling to Chicago on business or to Las Vegas and Disney World for vacations. They're going in search of vaccines.


Frustrated by crashing appointment websites, shortages of Covid-19 shots and a patchwork of confusing eligibility rules, people with time and money are heading out of town in pursuit of a potentially life-saving inoculation.

Vaccine-seeking tourists are showing up in Miami, at beach resorts in Hawaii, ski towns in Colorado and in New York City, which has received more doses than other parts of the state, as well as nearby New Jersey and Connecticut.

There is no national data, yet states that keep track suggest that tens of thousands of Americans are traveling for the vaccine. More than 37,000 out-of-staters have received Covid-19 shots in Florida, according to state data as of Tuesday. The figure excludes people who have second residences or businesses in Florida, where about 1 million have been vaccinated.

More than 17 million doses have been administered across the U.S., according to Bloomberg's vaccine tracker. Health policy experts say that, generally, the more people with shots in arms, the better. Yet vaccine tourism raises concerns over what happens to people who don't have the money—or aren't healthy enough—to travel for immunization. There are also ethical questions about whether it's right to appropriate a dose intended for a specific city or state. The tourism industry hasn't launched large marketing campaigns, so as to avoid appearing to advocate skirting the rules.

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