San Francisco sees an influx of vaccine tourism
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – The San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing another international tourism boom, but it’s not because of Fisherman’s Warf or the Golden Gate Bridge.
Instead, people around the world are flying to the airport to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s hard to get vaccinated in the Philippines, so it’s easier to come here and hit two birds at once,” said traveler Roqzanne Tan.
She was unable to get the vaccine in her home country, so she traveled over 15 hours to land in the United States and entered a CVS to get the vaccine.
Another popular option is the vaccination clinic at San Francisco International Airport, where tourists are given the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Monday through Friday.
According to airport spokesman Doug Yakel, “80% of new appointments are in fact non-US citizens.”
Since May, the airport has administered more than 1,000 vaccines to tourists from 58 countries. They say most of the people are from Taiwan and Mexico.
“Because in Mexico there is no plan,” Israel Gomez said. “In Mexico, they are very slow.
As the delta variant spreads across the world, the San Francisco airport has become an unexpected vaccination hotspot.
“This allows these doses of Johnson & Johnson to be put to good use,” Yakel said. “This allows them not to waste.
Travel agent Edward Siu has received several calls to inquire about the vaccine. He said the price of the trip was high but worth it as COVID cases are on the rise in many countries.
“It can only cost them around $ 4,000 to $ 5,000, that’s the maximum,” he said.
San Francisco Airport is hoping free and accessible vaccines will help boost the local economy, but Siu said one dose was not enough to help much.
“Maybe only the hotel is benefiting, maybe the airline is benefiting,” he said. “People don’t do the tours because they just want to get the shot and then they go.”
Yet the word is spreading fast.
“My friend also came here with me to get the vaccine, but she returned to the Philippines,” Tan said.
The international vaccine rush comes as the pandemic in the United States reaches another peak.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the country averages over 100,000 new cases of COVID every day, the highest number in nearly six months.
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