People wait to receive the second dose of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine at the Bang Khun Thian Geriatric Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand April 21, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )
Vaccination drives in Thailand are still a month away and the wealthier population continues to grow impatient
Thailand’s travel agencies are selling coronavirus vaccine tour packages to people growing impatient of delayed vaccinations in the country. The “vaccine tours” offer trips to countries like the United States and Britain, where a large part of their population has been vaccinated.
Vaccination drives in Thailand are still a month away and the wealthier population continues to grow impatient. A tour operator from Bangkok, Unithai Trip told Reuters that they have priced the vaccine tour packages between $2,400 to $6,400 (75,000 baht to 200,000 baht). These packages offer people a chance to get vaccinated in foreign countries and include trips to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York.
The price varies from the duration of the doses of vaccines. In the US, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have received approval for use. While J&J requires only a single dose, the other two need two doses 20 days apart.
Rachphol Yamsaeng, the owner of Unithai Trip told Reuters that 90 per cent of the enquiries they receive want the Pfizer vaccine and that a group of travellers was set to leave for the US next week.
Another travel company, My Journey Travel offers a 10-day trip to San Francisco for a jab of Johnson & Johnson. So far, they have hundreds of calls in just three days. Thailand’s tourism sector has been badly hit due to the pandemic, and these vaccine tours could bring much needed relief to many.
According to the US State Department, medical tourism remains a valid reason for people to visit the country.
Some companies are also offering trips to Russia to get the Sputnik V jab. In June, Thailand will begin its vaccination drive with locally-produced shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
(With inputs from agencies)