Vaccine tours to Russia on demand for those who don’t want to wait in line
With nearly 100 countries in the world waiting to receive their coronavirus vaccine jabs due to the insufficient number of doses, it has given way to a new tourism approach in which travel agencies are organizing vaccination tours on demand for those who do not want to wait in the vaccine queue.
People who don’t want to wait in a line for their vaccine shots can now travel to Russia’s capital, Moscow, to get inoculated.
“We agreed with a clinic in Moscow. The price for a Moscow trip, including accommodation, flight tickets and [two doses of] shots, is 1,099 euros. A certificate is given to those who are vaccinated,” said a manager of a travel agency claiming to organize vaccine tours from Turkey to Russia.
On purchasing the tour package, a customer gets two round-trip tickets from Istanbul to Moscow with provisions to get both vaccine shots, the manager said, stating that the vaccine was administered at a clinic the travel agency agreed to.
“Immediate vaccination is made to ensure that the customer spends at least 24 hours in Moscow. Thus, we ensure that medical intervention can be made in case of a side effect,” the manager said, adding that customers were accompanied by a Russian-speaking assistant during the tours.
The tour package includes a short trip to Moscow city center and visits to the Kremlin Palace, historical metro stations and tomb of Nazım Hikmet, a legendary Turkish poet who left Turkey in 1951 forever to live in the Soviet Union and passed away there.
The travel agency’s manager also noted that the vaccine tour was legal with no risks involved, though Russian authorities have not officially given the green light for tourists to fly in for the jab.
Meanwhile, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov admitted on March 29 that there were requests to consider “whether foreigners should be given the possibility to travel and get vaccinated here,” noting that the “question of organizing the entry of foreigners for the vaccine” was something for the government to consider.
He also said that although Russian citizens were their “absolute priority” for now.
“A vaccination passport is not issued, but they do provide an internationally valid vaccination certificate. The vaccine is Russian Sputnik V,” the travel agency’s manager said.
If a Turkish passenger has a special passport, a travel document provided by the Turkish state to public officials and their families, then a Russian visa for the trip is not required, according to the manager.
“If a visa is to be obtained, a multiple-entry visa is required since two trips will be made to Russia. The fee for this is $220. We provide four-star hotel accommodation for both tours. For flight tickets and two doses of Sputnik V vaccine, we charge 1,099 euros,” he said, stating that the fee charged was reasonable.