Connect with us

Top Stories

Russian vaccine tourism catches on after Sputnik V hits WHO snag

Russian vaccine tourism catches on after Sputnik V hits WHO snag 1

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian travel agencies are selling package tours for Russians to receive foreign COVID-19 vaccines abroad amid frustration among some Russians that their domestically produced vaccines have not been approved internationally.

Russia has not registered any foreign-made vaccines for use. It has approved four domestically produced vaccines including the two-dose Sputnik V. None of Russia’s shots are approved by the World Health Organisation or European Union.

The WHO has suspended its approval process for Sputnik V until a factory that failed a good practices inspection is visited again, the Pan American Health Organization said on Sept. 15.

Demand in Russia for tours allowing people to receive foreign vaccines approved by the WHO has risen since that announcement last week, said Maya Lomidze, director of Russia’s Association of Tour Operators (ATOR).

Most of the trips, costing around 600-850 euros, are to Serbia, and one firm was offering Germany as a destination. They allow customers to receive one of four different vaccines, including the one developed with Pfizer, ATOR said in a statement.

If the travellers choose a two-dose vaccine, they need to book two trips.

Anna Filatovskaya, the PR director of Russian Express, a travel agency offering such tours, said that clients were choosing the Pfizer shot most often.

She said its package tours included return flights with Aeroflot, two-three nights in a hotel in Belgrade, breakfast and travel to a clinic. The vaccine shot itself is free, but the travel agency registers clients to receive it, she said.

“We started selling these tours around two weeks ago. There were around 20 applications in that time … ” she said.

Demand spiked on Wednesday after local media reports of the availability of such tours, she said.

“This provoked wild demand,” she told Reuters. She said 17 people had applied for a vaccination trip on Wednesday.

Ivetta Verdiyan, the advertising director of another travel agency, said their tours were mainly being used by Russians who travel for business or whose children study abroad.

Maria, a Moscow resident, said she travelled abroad this summer to get vaccinated, though she did not use one of these tours.

“I trust Sputnik – but it is not recognised outside of Russia. Travel rules in the world mean I need an international certificate to move around for work,” she said, declining to give her family name.

(Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Alison Williams)

Editorial & Advertiser disclosure
Our website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.
Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Recommended

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now