MEXICO CITY & LIMA – A travel agency advertises to travel to the Mexican United States (USA) to get vaccinated against Govt-19. “Do you want a vaccine against Govt-19? Do you have a visa to enter the United States? Contact us,” the ad reads.
From Mexico to Argentina, thousands of Latin Americans are booking flights to the United States to benefit from one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, while vaccine progress in their countries is moving slowly.
Latin America is also one of the worst-hit areas by the Govt-19 epidemic, with more than 1 million deaths this month, and many do not want to wait that long to return to the vaccine line.
Some do the processing themselves, while others use travel agencies, which respond by offering packages that offer some additional features such as vaccinations, flights, hotel accommodation and city tours and shopping tours.
Johnson & Johnson’s 66-year-old Gloria Sanchez and her husband, Angel Menendez, traveled to Las Vegas in late April with the intention of taking a single dose of the vaccine.
“We do not trust public health services in this country,” said Sanchez, now based in Mexico. “If we had not gone to the United States, I would have felt a little more comfortable. I would not have been vaccinated here.”
Sanchez said the trip was arranged by a travel agent in Mexico City, and that a partner in Las Vegas led the process on the North American side.
An ally in the United States arranged a time to vaccinate them, and then took them to a convention center in Las Vegas, where they were issued Mexican passports and received the dosage.
“We decided to turn the trip into a holiday trip, stayed for a week, we went crazy, we ate very expensive but good food, we went shopping,” he said.
Ray Sanchez, who runs the travel agency RSC Travel World, said that as demand increased, air fares from Mexico to the United States increased by an average of 30% to 40% from mid-March.
“There are thousands of Mexicans and thousands of Latin Americans who went to the United States to get vaccinated,” the travel agent said, adding that Houston, Dallas, Miami and Las Vegas were the main destinations.
Reuters has not been able to find official data on the number of Latinos going to the United States in search of the vaccine. Passengers generally do not declare that the “vaccine” is a reason for travel.
People travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, including vaccinations. The US Embassy in Peru recently posted a message on Twitter that it could be visited.
In Argentina, an ad in Buenos Aires describes the estimated cost of vaccination in Miami: airfare $ 2,000, hotel $ 550 per week, food US $ 350, car rental US $ 500, vaccination US $ 0, total $ 3,400.
Latin Americans who traveled to the United States on tourist visas told Reuters they were able to get vaccinated with identification documents from their home countries.
* With information from Anthony Esposito, Cassandra Garrison and Marco Aquino – Reuters
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