There is growing demand for overseas vaccine tourism in India and Moscow is the destination of choice. A Delhi-based travel agency has begun offering 24-day package tours, priced at Rs.1.3 lakh each, which will take vaccine hopefuls to Moscow for two shots of Sputnik-V with a spot of sightseeing thrown in to pass the 21-day interval between jabs.
“The first shot is administered on the very next day after arrival in Moscow,” said an official from the travel agency. “The first batch left on May 15, a group of 30, largely doctors from Gurugram,” he said, adding they have received their first shot. The second batch, on May 29, is all booked too and most are Delhi-based doctors who booked in a group, he said. Then there are batches in June. “The group spends three days in St Petersburg and the remaining days in Moscow. The package includes cost of air tickets on Aeroflot flights from Delhi, breakfast, dinner and a few days of local sight seeing. The visa fee of Rs 10,000 isn’t included,” he added.
Currently, Russia is one of the few countries that allow Indians to fly in for a vaccine vacation as it permits entry with just a negative PCR report and no requirement of quarantine on arrival. Dubai, which was among the first foreign destinations to be associated with the term “vaccine tourism”, is currently shut to Indians and so are a number of other countries.
It was in November last year that the first such package tour to vaccinate abroad was announced by a travel company, a Mumbai-based one. As soon as the Pfizer vaccine was available in the US, the company said it would fly Indians for a four-day US stay at a cost of Rs.1.7 lakh.