Just as medical tourism has been on the rise the past two years, now vaccine tourism is growing in popularity. Traveling to another state, where COVID-19 vaccines may be more readily available than your own state, has become a common activity. Florida is one of the first states to crack down on the practice, now requiring patients to show proof of residency before receiving their vaccine.
“We’re only doing [shots] for Florida residents. You’ve got to live here either full-time or at least part-time. Now we do have part-time residents who are here all winter,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told CNN. “They go to doctors here or whatever, that’s fine. What we don’t want is tourists, foreigners. We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line.”
The Florida ban on “vaccine tourism” comes as more people are coming from out-of-state and even internationally to obtain a vaccine, especially from countries where distribution is seriously lagging.
Florida is currently administering shots to people 65 and older, healthcare personnel with direct patient contact, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. This priority group could prove attractive to people in states that are still only vaccinating frontline workers or people over the age of 70.