Positives for San Francisco as vaccine tourism takes off

Improvements for San Francisco International Airport as 30,000th vaccine administered   

California’s San Francisco International Airport (SFO) surpassed the 30,000 mark for vaccines administered at the Airport this week. A vast amount of which have been foreign travelers who are making vaccination part of their visit.  

The process of getting a vaccine while visiting on a trip away is known as ‘vaccine tourism’. Visitors to SFO’s Medical Clinic have the option to receive the free Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. 

Photo San Fransisco International Airport

Currently, up to 80% of vaccine appointments at the medical clinic are made by non-US citizens. Over 1,000 doses have been administered to visitors from 58 countries globally.  

Airport Director Ivar C. Satero said: "This trend truly represents a win-win situation for all. It ensures that vaccines doses do not go unused by making them available to those who may have trouble accessing it in their home country.”  

“It also stimulates travel and visitor spending for the Bay Area, and – most importantly – it helps protect against community spread of the virus." 

Initially SFO offered onsite vaccinations in February 2021, when it partnered with the local County of San Mateo to provide vaccines to health care workers and over 65 population.   

The Airport converted one of its multi-level garages to serve as a drive-through vaccination facility. Over 26,500 doses were administered through this program. 

Additional to this, the airport also launched a vaccination clinic in May which offered doses to airport staff and the local populations. This program was completed through a partnership with Safeway and administered almost 2,200 doses.