Friday 31 March 2023

Flexible vaccination triggers Costa Ricans travel to the United States

Six states invite tourists to inoculate against Covid-19; between 5,000 and 10,000 people expected to travel in the coming months

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QCOSTARICA – The hook of six states promoting Covid-19 inoculation for tourists in the United States caught many Costa Ricans.

They are Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida, states that do not ask for higher requirements to vaccinate, even of foreigners.

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Even Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado invited citizens who have the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to do so to be inoculated.

The phenomenon has been taken advantage of by travel agencies, which designed packages that range between US$800 and $1,200 that includes flight, accommodation, appointment and transfer to the vaccination center, among others.

Already more than a thousand Costa Ricans have bought packages of this type and it is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 more will do in the coming months.

In addition, between March and April, the departures of Costa Ricans to the United States soared after a lukewarm February, according to data from the Dirección de Migración y Extranjería (DGME), Costa Rica’s immigration service.

Between February and March, there was an increase in departures of 112%; while between March and April the growth was 4%, months that precisely coincide with the opening of the states towards the vaccination of foreigners.

“In all these states, tourists are welcome, that is, we can tell (U.S) immigration as a reason for travel: ‘to get vaccinated and go shopping, or to get vaccinated and to go for a walk’,” explained Sary Valverde, president of the Asociación de Agencias de Viaje. (Association of Travel Agencies).

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Tourists should not fear being denied entry or revocation of their visa if they express that they are traveling for the purpose of being vaccinated, clarified the United States Embassy in Costa Rica.

In addition to a visa, travelers to the United States must have a passport validity of at least six months and have a PCR or antigen test not more than 3 days to enter the United States.

It is recommended a minimum stay of two days..

Most tourists seek out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as it requires a single dose. Its efficiency is 72%.

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Making an appointment in advance is important since there is not always the possibility of a choice of vaccine once at the vaccination center.

“What most caught my attention is that I did not see any nurse, it was the military from the US Air Force who vaccinated. They ask for an ID, but if you don’t have it, nothing happens. In addition, they ask you for a phone number and an address […]. I did not have to make the appointment, I just arrived and in five minutes they vaccinated me,” Mariana Rodríguez, a Tica that recently got vaccinated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, told La Republica.

Other details that are asked when vaccinating are: if you have allergies, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding; if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you plan to inject other medications soon.

In Costa Rica, travel agents offering travel packages to get vaccinated in the United States by the companies include Viajes Colón, EASA, Viaja Viaja, Hpride, Costa Rica For All Travel, Desafíos Travel & Tours, and Get a Local Friend.

Here’s what to do if you want to get vaccinated in the United States:

  • Visit the Vaccine Spotter site
  • Choose the State (make sure that residency is not a requirement, as in the states mentioned above)
  • Choose your type of vaccine
  • Book an appointment online
  • Save your email for your appointment showing the locations, date, time and type of vaccination
  • Arrive for your scheduled appointment and carry an official government identification, such as a passport (it does not need to be a US passport)
  • Receive your vaccination and vaccination card from the CDC. Then wait 15 minutes in the waiting room before leaving
  • Vaccination is complete if it is the Johnson & Johnson single dose. For all other types of vaccines, you will need to stay in the US for three to four weeks to receive your second dose.
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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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