Under the severe pandemic situation, many Americans have begun to travel again.
But this time they went to Disneyland for a holiday or a casino in Las Vegas, but went to find a life-saving coronavirus vaccine.
Vaccine shortages, crash booking sites, a variety of priority vaccination rules… The endless problems are forcing more and more Americans to go abroad for vaccination, which has also led to a new way of traveling – vaccine tourism.
However, this special “tourism” is causing widespread concern. People complain that in a time of vaccine shortages, this kind of “tourism” is tantamount to “resource plundering”.
It is also argued that this phenomenon reflects the “systemic problem” of vaccine allocation in the United States and is a “great leadership failure”.
Florida introduces restrictions on the rise of “vaccine tourism”
According to the Guardian on the 31st, Florida has become the most popular destination in this round of “vaccine tourism” due to looser vaccination regulations.
Previously, Florida had vaccinated 50,000 doses of vaccines to outsiders, accounting for about 3.4% of the state’s total vaccinations.
“They came here from Canada, Brazil, New York, Georgia, Minneapolis…
They are in line with people from Venezuela for vaccination.” Jay Wolfson, professor of public health at the University of South Florida (USF), said.
According to CNN, according to Florida’s original regulations, people aged 65 and above are allowed to be vaccinated there regardless of their place of residence, and Florida is also the first state in the United States to open up vaccinations for this age group.
In contrast, many other states in the United States have much stricter vaccination requirements, such as requiring people to live locally, carry identity certificates and rental certificates.
Other states require that the vaccinated person must be a front-line worker or be 75 years old or older.
In the order of vaccination, many states have also given dazzling regulations.
For example, in Wisconsin, mink farmers may get priority in the next round of vaccination; in Wisconsin, smokers can get a vaccine first; and in Colorado, journalists are put on the priority list…
It is worth noting that it is not only Americans who flock to participate in “vaccine tourism”.
According to NBC, after the U.S. vaccination was officially rolled out last December, Gem Tours Tours in India announced a four-day “vaccine tour” package from Mumbai to New York, covering a shot of coronavirus vaccine at a cost of about $2,000.
Nimesh Shah, the company’s business director, said that 5,000 people participated in the registration once the package was launched.
However, under the upsurge of “vaccine tourism”, Florida introduced corresponding restrictions late last month.
In order to prevent “scarce vaccines” from entering outsiders, Florida Health Director Scott Rivkees released new health guidance on the same day in an attempt to reduce “vaccine tourism”. According to the guidelines, only “residents living in Florida and full-time or part-time” are eligible for vaccination.
Vaccination problems occur frequently, and “vaccine tourism” causes concern.
In order to contain the out-of-control pandemic, Biden has made the fight against the pandemic a major task in his early days of office. Last month, Biden announced an American Rescue Plan worth 1.9 trillion yuan, which includes accelerating vaccination.
He also promised to vaccinate at least 100 million people in the United States against the coronavirus in the first 100 days after taking office as President of the United States.
But Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has said that the current distribution and vaccination process of coronavirus vaccine in the United States is problematic.
The federal government, due to poor planning and scheduling, has led to slow vaccination progress in state governments, and even insufficient inventory to provide a second dose of vaccine for those who have been vaccinated.
At present, many places in the United States are facing a shortage of vaccines for coronavirus vaccination.
New York, Colorado, Oregon and other U.S. states have issued warnings one after another that their vaccine stockpile is nearing depletion.
In Texas, where the second most confirmed cases, some remote hospitals did not receive the first batch of coronavirus vaccine until January 21, with a total of less than 1,000 doses, CBS reported.
According to the report, there is a shortage of vaccines in many parts of Texas. In Dallas, Texas, people wait at the door hours before even opening.
According to the data of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of January 31, local time, a total of 4,933,250 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been distributed throughout the United States, with 25201143 people receiving the first dose of vaccine and 5,657,142 people receiving the second dose of vaccine.
The vaccine shortage comes at a time when the concerns caused by “vaccine tourism” are also spreading.
American medical workers believe that tourists who “vaccine tourism” are creating “unequal opportunities”, which will affect the whole country’s vaccination program.
“Vaccines involve appointments, syringes, and human resources, and the federal government usually distributes vaccines and develops strategies based on the number of the local population.
When someone gets vaccinated across cities, states, or even across borders, it can mess up all of this.” Kyle Ferguson, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, said.
“Vaccinate visitors take advantage of policy loopholes and create unequal opportunities for themselves.” Ferguson believes that the vaccines obtained by these tourists were originally distributed to the local community.
In addition, these cross-regional movements are also prone to the risk of pandemic transmission, and once vaccination problems occur, there are huge problems in the division of responsibilities.
It is worth mentioning that the frequent accidents such as unclaimed vaccines and intentional destruction of abandoned vaccines have made the shortage of vaccines in the United States worse.
Arthur Caplan, professor of ethics at the New York University School of Medicine, said: “It is important not to waste vaccines. I would rather they get into someone else’s arms than waste.”
Kaplan said that the United States is far from completing vaccinations for medical staff and the elderly, and those who jump the queue to vaccinate “should be condemned”.
Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor Medical School, believes that the emergence of “vaccine tourism” highlights the failure of the federal government in the vaccine program.
“If we still do so in a month, we will be in big trouble.”
Kaplan also expressed Hotez’s similar views, believing that “vaccine tourism” is not only a personal decision, but also a reflection of the systemic problems in the United States.
“What’s wrong with the vaccine supply? How dare we know how many vaccines we have? This is a huge leadership mistake.