GVB mulls ‘vaccine tourism’ for American expats

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With Guam considered as “America in Asia,” Guam is one of the few places in the region that offers vaccines that are offered in the American market such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. (PNC file photo)

With Guam being one of the few places in the region with enough FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, the Guam Visitors Bureau is considering marketing Guam as a “vaccination destination” for American expatriates living and working in the Asia-Pacific.

According to GVB vice president Gerry Perez, the bureau has been receiving inquiries from American expatriates in HongKong, the Philippines, and other countries in the region about the possibility of traveling to Guam to get vaccinated.

With Guam considered as “America in Asia,” Guam is one of the few places in the region that offers vaccines that are offered in the American market such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Because of this, a number of American Chambers of Commerce (AmChams) in the region like the ones in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea have been contacting GVB to discuss the possible vaccination of their members on Guam.

Ideally, GVB is hoping that American expatriates and their families can combine a vacation stay on Guam along with their vaccinations.

Under this scenario, American expatriates can travel to Guam, have their first shot vaccinations, and then stay in Guam hotels for three weeks until they get their second dose before returning back to their home countries.

According to GVB, this plan fits perfectly with the federal policy of limiting the use of vaccines allotted to Guam to US citizens and residents.

GVB board member Sam Shinohara said this is a “win-win” situation for both Guam and the federal government.

“I think it serves two purposes. Number one, it gets people here into hotel rooms and buying airline seats, and eating at our hotels. And that’s a great thing. But number two, it’s also a way for the federal government to take care of U.S. citizens that are abroad elsewhere,” Shinohara said.

Shinohara emphasized that the people of Guam are still the top priority when it comes to vaccine use and no local resident will be left out of vaccination.

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