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Eastern Washington University Vaccine Tourism Discussion Question

Eastern Washington University Vaccine Tourism Discussion Question

Eastern Washington University Vaccine Tourism Discussion Question


The USVI has succeeded in fully vaccinating 12.8 percent of the population above the age of 16 or approximately 10,600 persons and partially vaccinating 33,836 persons above the age of 16, or 32 percent of the population, according to a Government of the Virgin Islands press conference reported in Tuesday, March 23rd edition of the VI Daily News.

Approximately 3 percent or 1,000 persons of those vaccinated are non-residents from the US mainland. Vaccine tourism is developing in the USVI. Persons who are as yet ineligible to receive the vaccine or face long waits can fly to the USVI and make scheduled appoints to be vaccinated at private clinics. The vaccination program in the USVI is supposedly facing a lot of hesitancy, therefore the inclination of public health authorities to distribute vaccines to willing non-residents. Currently, the GVI has a stockpile of 36,000 doses waiting to be distributed.

The openness to vaccinate non residents has spurred more stay over tourism, especially on St. Croix, where the Plessen Clinic is actively marketing vaccinations to non residents. Because of the relatively long recommended wait period between the first and second doses (21-28 days) for Pfizer and Moderna, the two most commonly available in the USVI, tourists have to spend a little over a month in the territory. These tourists make expenditures on accommodations, food, transport, and entertainment during there stay.

Question for debate:

(1) Should the public authorities restrict vaccine availability to non-residents and focus on educating local residents to take the vaccine and take to quickly vaccinate 70-75% of the population as quickly as possible to achieve “herd mentality” or should public authorities countenance private sector actors in promoting vaccine tourism?

(2) As a public policy analyst what statistical information would you need to make an argument that the economic benefits of promoting rapid achievement of herd mentality outweigh the short term benefits of vaccine tourism.

(3) Specifically does the risk of not quick achieving herd immunity run to risk of more transmissible and more lethal strains becoming dominant in the territory overshadowing the benefits of more economic activity and circulation of monies in a weakened economy. Any sustained surge in infections would threaten to quickly overwhelm the 52 ICU bed capacity in the Territory and high infection rates would force shutdowns. Also the USVI has vulnerable low-income, immigrant communities who do to language barriers, low levels of education, and fear of possible perseution over irregular status may be particularly hesitant to come forward for vaccination.

(4) How much of a risk is allow a large underclass to remove unvaccinated would pose to the health care system and the economy in general since most in this segment would in service and contact intensive jobs.

(5) As a public policy analyst what statistical information would you need to make the case that promoting vaccine tourism outweighs the costs of targeting just local residents and given high local hesitancy.

– Please make an initial post that has two parts, a CON position (opposed to non-residents receiving the vaccine) and and PRO position (advocating that non-residents continue to receive vaccines and even use it as a tourism marketing tool.

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