From March, tourists who stay for three weeks in all-inclusives in Cuba will have the right to be vaccinated, a proposal that is also offered in other countries.
And Cuba is not alone in benefiting from vaccine tourism. In Florida, nearly 50,000 tourists have been vaccinated so far, although the state has tightened the rules and now requires proof of residency to receive the vaccine.
The same situation can be observed in Dubai, where travel agencies no longer hesitate to offer all-inclusive stays, vaccine included.
But is it a good idea and is it safe to get vaccinated in the South?
“Of course, it’s very salesy, but it sure poses risks. At first glance, a lot of people will think it’s worth it, ”believes microbiologist Marc Hamilton.
If studies carried out in Cuba seem to show that the local Sobrena vaccine is effective, it has not been submitted to Health Canada or the FDA.
“It has been shown to be reliable and safe. Nevertheless, there is still some questioning about the validity of these vaccines because there are others on the planet that are also in the same situation, ”explained Luc. Gagnon, Vice-President of Sciences and Vaccines at NEXELIS.
The other dilemma is whether the vaccination is valid in the eyes of the Canadian government.
“Since the vaccine is not recognized in Canada, it will be difficult to prove to Canadian authorities that the person is now protected against COVID,” said Mr. Gagnon.
In this sense, Marc Hamilton suggests to those who absolutely want to go abroad to be vaccinated to choose a destination that offers a vaccine approved in Canada.
“We don’t want to get here and then [se faire dire] “Well, you didn’t have the right vaccine, we don’t know if there are any side effects, if it worked, if the immunity is there, we have to start over.” It should not be done on a whim if we decide to do it, ”said the microbiologist.
However, Mr. Hamilton does not recommend vaccine tourism as a solution, especially because of the presence of variants abroad.