Travel bans and border closers may make it hard for South Africans to obtain vaccines elsewhere if a potential third wave hits the country. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane AFrican News Agency (ANA)
Travel bans and border closers may make it hard for South Africans to obtain vaccines elsewhere if a potential third wave hits the country. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane AFrican News Agency (ANA)

Vaccine vacations are fast gaining momentum - but South Africans have limited access

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published May 11, 2021

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South Africa's vaccine roll-out is slow compared to other countries. This coupled with the travel restrictions imposed on South Africa may restrict South Africans from getting vaccinated elsewhere.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that if wealthy nations hogged Covid-19 shots while millions in poor countries died waiting for them it would amount to "vaccine apartheid".

Reuters reported that South Africa ordered enough Covid-19 vaccines for 46 million of its 60 million people via bilateral deals with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer.

The J&J shots will be made locally by Aspen Pharmacare.

As the country waits in limbo, many destinations are offering vaccines to travellers visiting their country. However, the travel bans and border closures may make it hard for South Africans to obtain vaccines elsewhere if a potential third wave hits the country.

At present, Maldives is among the destinations opened for South African travellers. If the “3V” strategy that aims to lure travellers to “visit, vaccinate, and vacation" is rolled out soon, it may be the ideal time for South Africans to take a holiday and get vaccinated while soaking up the sun and lounging by the pool.

Minister of Tourism for the Maldives Abdulla Mausoom announced the “3V” strategy last month.

Speaking to CNBC, he said the government would ensure that all locals had their dose of vaccines before opening the process to new arrivals.

The country did not announce the date of the 3V rollout.

In the meantime, it seems that many South Africans are travelling to Zimbabwe for their vaccination.

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa said last month that Zimbabweans would receive the vaccine for free while those travelling to the country will have to pay a fee.

“This is a human element, we cannot deny anybody the vaccine, but if you are not Zimbabwean we will give you the vaccine at a cost,” Mnangagwa said at the time.

According to reports, the cost is $70 (about R982.94).

South Africans should research before crossing the border to take the vaccine.

Meanwhile, some companies have created vaccine travel packages.

Travel agency World Visitor launched Covid-19 vaccine trips to Russia. The €1 599 (R27 308) trip includes two medical appointments at a vaccination centre in Russia, a medical invitation from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, all transfers, accommodation and a translator during the consultation.

Russia is currently closed to international travel, according to Skyscanner's live interactive map.

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