The centre had announced that it will start the third phase of the vaccination drive for all above 18 years of age in India. However, getting an appointment for a COVID-19 jab on the Cowin application has been a real challenge. The slots on the Cowin application disappear as soon as they become available. Many are struggling to get even the second dose of the vaccine while India heavily runs out of stock. After all, it is not easy to inoculate a country with such a huge population. With all the vaccine scarcity, many rich Indians have been flying to other countries to get vaccinated.
Is It Legal To Travel To Another Country To Get A Vaccine?
A tourism company also announced a 24-day vaccine tourism package to Russia for ₹1.3L. All the slots of this offer filled as soon as it gained traction on social media. It could well have been a marketing gimmick by the agency but given the buzz, vaccine tourism seems to take off in India. But can travelling to another country to get a vaccine legal? Here’s what you need to know.
— NDTV (@ndtv) May 19, 2021
There is no law that says travelling to another country to get vaccinated is a crime. But in case you are opting for the vaccine tourism packages, think twice. The government has no official arrangements in place to ensure that those opting for such packages get the offers they are promised. In fact, even the Russian government did not give a nod to any such vaccine tourism package. All of this could be a scam as well so take it up at your own risk.
Are All Countries Accepting Tourists For Vaccination?
Many rich Canadians, Brazilians, and Venezuelans flew to the US state of Florida only to find overwhelmed vaccination centres. The state later passed an order making it mandatory for vaccine seekers to produce residential proof. But contrary to this, New York recently announced a plan to use vaccine tourism as a way to increase footfalls in the city. If you’re a tourist in the USA, you can now get vaccinated at Times Square, the High Line and other popular spots in New York City. The New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio revealed on Twitter that mobile vaccination sites will be set up at iconic NYC spots to provide Johnson & Johnson jabs to anyone who needs it, including tourists.
— NDTV (@ndtv) May 19, 2021
However, vaccine tourism as a way to boost the economy has been around for a while. A few weeks back, the Maldives announced that it would offer jab to all the visiting tourists. A shot combined with a holiday package encourages vaccine seekers to book flights, relax at resorts, eat and shop. And if tourists decide to stay for both the shots, it only translates to more money into the economy.
Can You Travel To Neighbouring State Or City In India For Vaccine?
The answer is yes. People in Mumbai have already been driving to rural areas to get the vaccine. As of now, no rule in India prohibits anyone above 18 from getting vaccinated in any part of the country. You need to simply book an appointment on Cowin application and carry your identification proof. Indian citizens aged 45 and above are also allowed to walk into vaccination centres without registration.
Welcome to New York, your vaccine is waiting for you!
We’ll administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at iconic sites across our city. With State authorization, we can get vaccines to tourists and make sure they have a built in souvenir to bring home with them. Let’s get it done! pic.twitter.com/NCqIietY9R
— City of New York (@nycgov) May 6, 2021
Vaccine tourism has emerged as a trend in countries where vaccines are in short supply. There are only a few countries like the US, Russia, France, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Zimbabwe, and Iceland that are ready to vaccinate citizens from other countries.