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‘Like a Dream’: Latin Americans Head to the US to detect COVID

RIO DE JANEIRO — Buenos Aires-based photographer Florencia Gonzalez Alzaga. Plans to fly to the US for coronavirus vaccine after the object entered her Zoom book club.

Juan Pablo Bojaca, an Instagram influencer from Colombia specializing in budget travel. Encouraged his 137,000 followers to give it a try by posting a step-by-step video tutorial showing him passing passport control in Miami.

José Acevedo, a Paraguay-based real estate agent, is amazed by how easy Las Vegas is.

Disappointed with the delayed home vaccine campaign and saw a surplus in the United States. which tens of millions of Americans choose not to vaccinate Wealthy and middle-class Latin Americans with American tourist visas flock to United States in recent weeks to score Covid-1

9 shooting

“It was like a dream,” said Gonzalez, who was shot in Miami in April.

Accessibility has proven useful for privileged people in different countries. that the virus continues to have a brutal impact, although many people, including those who benefit It has also struggled with the fact that vaccine tourism has exacerbated inequality, which has exacerbated the death toll from the epidemic.

Sean Simons, a spokesperson for the ONE Campaign, which works to eradicate disease and poverty, said vaccine travel can have unintentional serious consequences. and encourage countries that has a surplus of vaccines to pass through the World Health Organization’s vaccine distribution system known as Covax.

“Billionaires and billionaires who travel across continents or oceans to get vaccines. usually twice means getting more vaccines The probability of the species spreading is higher. and accessible only to the elite,” he said.

The Biden administration said this month it would provide countries with 80 million doses of the vaccine by the end of June. trying to vaccinate their people

Still, the success stories of Latin Americans getting stomped were shared on social media posts and word of mouth. And local officials in New York and Alaska actively support vaccination tourism. Airfares on many routes have also skyrocketed. Because thousands of people plan to heading north

Regional travel agencies have begun selling vaccine packages. Includes multi-country itineraries for Brazilians. This requires two weeks in a third country before being allowed to enter the United States.

José Carlos Brunetti, Vice President of Maral Turismo, a travel agency in Asuncion Paraguay’s capital city Said that these trips were a paradise for his industry after years of depression.

“The craze for traveling to the United States to try to vaccinate started in March,” he said. “We are now seeing exponential growth in passenger and flight numbers.”

in general Foreigners on a tourist visa can obtain medical treatment in the United States.

While the State Department conducts security background checks for foreigners applying for visas. Officials said they were not explicitly screening visitors for vaccination. And there seems to be no federal recommendation for foreigners coming to the United States for that purpose.

when in the country The official said depending on the state local community and individual health care providers to decide whether to give the vaccine without proof of American residency.

The famous Latin American politician was among those who flew to the United States to shoot guns.

César Acuña promised as a presidential candidate in Peru earlier this year that he intended to be the “last” in his country to fire. But after losing the election He said there was no point in keeping that promise.

“Remember that I am 68 years old; I am a weak person,” he said in a radio interview.

Mauricio Macri, Former President of Argentina pledged in February not to Vaccinations are “vaccinated until the last Argentines of the high-risk group and all necessary workers receive it”, despite a series of strict quarantine measures imposed since last year. But Argentina is facing a widespread outbreak. Which experts believe is partly due to the highly contagious virus that was first detected in Brazil.

Although he has pledged to wait to be vaccinated, Marci wrote in a Facebook post this month that he had received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccination in Miami after realizing that “Vaccines are used everywhere. From beaches to shopping malls and even at the drugstore.”

Among 12 Latin Americans who traveled to the United States for vaccinations and were interviewed for this article. Many people expressed conflicting feelings. Some, who declined to speak on the record, said they felt guilty about getting the vaccine, while compatriots at greater risk of the disease continued to disclose.

Gonzalez, an Argentine photographer, said her plan came after members of her online book club began to talk more about the fears associated with the epidemic than the books they were reading.

“We started talking about it and we thought: Why don’t we go to Miami and get vaccinated?” she said. We bought tickets.”

Gonzalez said she could easily book a vaccine appointment the day after arriving in Miami on April 1, the Johnson & Johnson shooting she received at the Salvation Army center. It ended the painful detention period that reminded her of. Her cancer treatment was seven years ago.

She was surprised by the few questions people at the vaccination site asked. “They want to vaccinate people,” she said. “They are excited to vaccinate.”

The first wave of Argentine vaccine travelers returning home with American vaccine certificates has driven airfare skyrocketing, says Santiago Torre Walsh, curator of popular travel blog Sir Chandler. said

The travelers were initially reluctant to acknowledge the purpose of the trip, he said.

“Now that has changed,” he said. “People seem more willing to talk about it openly. And that encourages others to do it too.”

That’s what Mr. Bojaca. Colombian Instagram influencers do A video of his vaccination journey posted on Instagram. This included a scene secretly recorded by an American passport control officer asking who he was visiting. He and his fellow travelers said they were visiting a friend.

“That guy didn’t ask what we were doing here,” said Mr Bojaca, astonished in later scenes in the video. “I have practiced saying ‘vaccination’ in English 80 times.”

While the flow of vaccine travelers from countries such as Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Mexico has increased for months. Brazilians face unique challenges.

The United States has now banned most people who have spent time in Brazil from boarding any American city unless they spend two weeks in a country that is not subject to coronavirus travel restrictions. Night and permanent residents are still allowed to enter the United States.

Andrea Schver, owner of Venice Turismo, a Sao Paulo-based travel agency, said the ban never happened to wealthy customers. who are willing to pay thousands of dollars to buy tickets. in April She sells packages that include two weeks of layovers in places like Cancun or the Caribbean islands for the first 18 days of May. She organized trips for more than 40 passengers, she said.

Clients include television personalities who will soon begin recording new shows, and other wealthy Brazilians. who are used to having extravagant vacations each year, she said.

“These are families who travel all year round. And they were detained last year with ample money,” she said, noting that almost all customers bought business-class tickets. “These are not people looking for bargains.”

Azebedo, a real estate agent in Paraguay, said he viewed his vaccine journey as a worthwhile investment and potentially life-saving. Because being overweight puts him at higher risk.

“I can’t stop working, producing and my work has led to many connections with people,” he said.

He argues that America’s immunization has eased the burden of the Paraguayan government.

“Part of this is not taking pills from people who need them more,” he said.

Ernesto Londoño reporting from Rio de Janeiro, Daniel Politi from Buenos Aires and Santi Carneri from Asunción, Paraguay. Lis Moriconi contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro and Lara Jakes from Washington.

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