The White House is reportedly under tremendous pressure to send vaccines to the Latin American countries hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
And the Joe Biden administration is also increasingly realizing that sending vaccines is the only option to deal with both the migrant crisis and the rise in vaccine tourism in the United States.
Reports say more than a million Mexicans might have visited the United States in recent months in an attempt to secure a vaccine.
“People of means from Latin America are chartering planes, booking commercial flights, buying bus tickets, and renting cars to get the vaccine in the United States because of a lack of supply at home,” says a report on the USA Today.
The nature of the Nearshore environment has put the region’s vaccination campaigns at the forefront of industry minds. Travel between locations has been extremely limited during the pandemic as governments enforced tight border controls across the region. But as the US moves forward with its vaccination program, citizens are taking to the air again.
A host of global health authorities including World Health Organisation has called for fair access to vaccines for developing countries, and events like VAX Live, a concert put together by Global Citizen and featuring celebrities like Ariana Grande and Prince Harry, renewed the focus on vaccination sharing.
Elsewhere in Latin America, interest in heading to the US to access a vaccine is growing. The US embassy in Peru has confirmed that Peruvians can seek a US visa in order to get the jab.
However, so-called vaccine tourism is a controversial topic both in the US as well as Latin America.
Peru’s presidential candidate Hernando De Soto recently came under fire after he admitted that he had traveled to the US to get vaccinated.
Vaccine tourism critics say that it simply amplifies the injustices that are already so prevalent across the Latin American region. Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, told the Financial Times that: “Unfortunately, it exacerbates the inequality perpetuated by Covid.”
Analysts say promoting vaccination rates in Latin America could help break the chain of infections and is a major step toward preventing the virus from mutating further. The porosity of land borders between nations like Mexico and the US, as well as the migrant crisis taking place in Venezuela, highlight the need for greater access to vaccines as a way of halting the spread.
The news comes weeks after reports emerged that the White House might send vaccines as well as cash to Central American countries as part of a bid to prevent residents there from migrating to the United States.