Come visit New York City. You can see the Statue of Liberty, stroll through Central Park…and maybe get vaccinated against COVID-19.
As the Associated Press reported Friday, the city hopes to offer COVID shots to tourists using vaccination vans in Times Square and at other attractions.
The plan needs approval from the state, which the city hopes to secure as soon as this weekend, although the New York Health Department said it hasn’t yet gotten anything to review.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the proposal “a positive message to tourists: ‘Come here. It’s safe, it’s a great place to be and we’re going to take care of you.’”
The mayor said tourists will not be required to get the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, nor will the city track visitors’ vaccination status.
In addition to Times Square, the vaccine vans will set up shop in locations like Central Park, the High Line elevated park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Many visitors might return home before the vaccine takes effect, but de Blasio said that the more people get vaccinated, the better, regardless of where they live.
There’s a strong connection between the COVID vaccine and people’s desire to travel, as PYMNTS has reported in recent weeks.
Our research found that more than 40 percent of Americans would like to do more international travel, while more than half say they want to do more domestic travel after a vaccine becomes widely available.
One big drawback, however, are vaccination passports. As of late last month, a little over 75 countries say they will accept American travelers. Many of those nations have strict guidelines for travels, such as a two-week quarantine upon arrival — not the best scenario for someone who only gets 10 vacation days a year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory page doesn’t offer American tourists a lot of choice, listing most other nations in the “Reconsider Travel” or “Do Not Travel” categories.