Vaccine tourism: Travelling to US to get COVID-19 shot
Despite the hiccup on Johnson & Johnson, the vaccination rate in the United States is steadily on the rise. According to the latest data The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, about 146.2 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Sites are administering about 2.55 million doses per day on average.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said in other countries. Poorer countries trail behind the vaccination rate. Limited supplies are also prompted to prioritise the frontliners and the vulnerable population. People desperate to get vaccinated are now flying to the United States to receive protection against COVID-19, and we are seeing affluent people flying across the world just to jump in line for vaccine.
In the past, Americans are the ones travelling to other countries to receive a cheaper medical procedure. The current situation gives rise to vaccine tourism, which is travelling to another country just to get inoculated.
The main question is, is this legal? Some countries like the UK are actively preventing travellers from outside the country to get vaccinated. In the UK, you are required to get the vaccine through your doctor and you have to confirm all your personal details which include your address. While things are loosely monitored in the US, there is no guarantee that you can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, regulations vary by state.
The table below from immigration website Visa Place shows states where you can get vaccinated.
|Alabama||No residency required|
|Alaska||Has residency requirements but is open to people who work in the state. Will ask for proof of employment|
|Arizona||No residency required|
|Arkansas||Open to people who work in the state|
|California||No residency required|
|Colorado||No residency required|
|Connecticut||Open to people who live out of state but work in the state. Must show proof|
|Delaware||Open to people who live out of state but work in the state. Must show proof|
|Florida||Open to people who own a property or work in the state. Must show proof|
|Georgia||Open to people who live part-time in the state and live out of state but work in the state. Must show proof|
|Hawaii||Has residency requirements, includes part-time residents and “snowbirds”|
|Idaho||Requires proof of residency or work in the state in order to get vaccine|
|Illinois||Has residency requirements but includes part-time residents|
|Indiana||Has residency requirements but is open to people who work in the state. Will ask for proof of employment|
|Iowa||No residency required|
|Kansas||Residency required – Decisions made on a county-by-county basis|
|Kentucky||Has residency requirements with exceptions for out-of-state nurses who work in the state|
|Louisiana||No residency required|
|Maine||Residency required – must be a Maine resident or work in the state. Proof is required|
|Maryland||No residency required|
|Massachusetts||Open to people who live or work in the state|
|Michigan||No residency required|
|Minnesota||No residency required|
|Mississippi||Has residency requirements, but open to residents and people who live out of state and work in the state such as nurses|
|Missouri||Has residency requirements|
|Montana||No residency required|
|Nevada||No residency required|
|New Hampshire||No residency required after April 19.|
|New Jersey||Residency required but is open to people who work or go to school in the state|
|New Mexico||No residency required|
|New York||Residency required|
|North Carolina||No residency required|
|North Dakota||No residency required|
|Ohio||No residency required|
|Oklahoma||No residency required|
|Oregon||Residency required but open to people who work or attend school in the state|
|Pennsylvania||No residency required|
|Rhode Island||Residency required but also open to people who work or go to school in the state|
|South Carolina||No residency required|
|South Dakota||Residency requirements for now until the vaccine is widespread|
|Tennessee||No residency required|
|Texas||No residency required|
|Vermont||Residency required but also open to people who work in the state|
|Virginia||No residency required|
|Washington||Residency required but also open to people who work in the state|
|West Virginia||Residency required but also open to people who work in the state|
|Wisconsin||Residency required but also open to people who work and study in the state|
|Wyoming||Has residency restrictions|
Meanwhile, Maldives’ tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom said that Maldives will soon offer vaccine on arrival as part of its 3Vs strategy – Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation – to revive the tourism industry. We are seeing that vaccines will soon become one of the requirements for travel. Many experts are saying that vaccination is the key to kickstart the travel industry.
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