“Vaccine tourism” is another trend born from the COVID-19 pandemic that first found its roots in Florida.
This new phenomenon started when out-of-state visitors were traveling outside of their area to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Florida state surgeon general Scott Rivkees, M.D. signed a public health advisory on January 21, 2021, that prioritized Florida residents for the vaccine. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also directly discouraged tourists and non-residents from coming into the state just for the vaccine.
Looking at Google Trends from January 1, 2021 to February 19, 2021, we can see a spike in searches for “vaccine tourism” in mid and late January. The spikes happened around the times the vaccine tourism first made headlines and when Dr. Rivkees signed the public health advisory.
Since Florida was among the first to get hit with vaccine tourism, we asked Florida residents how they felt about non-residents coming in and if there were any scenarios they felt were okay to cross state lines.
- More than half of respondents disapprove of out-of-state visitors coming to Florida to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- A quarter of respondents don’t approve of snowbirds and part-time residents getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.
- Nearly half of respondents aren’t okay with any out-of-state loved ones traveling to Florida for the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Less than one in ten respondents would cross state lines for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Half of Respondents Don’t Approve of Out-of-State Visitors Getting Vaccinated
We first wanted to know if Florida residents surveyed approved or disapproved of out-of-state visitors getting the vaccine. We saw that more than half of respondents opposed out-of-state visitors while less than a third were okay with it.
One in Five Respondents Don’t Approve of Snowbirds and Part-Time Residents Coming to Get Their Vaccine
Some questions were raised on whether snowbirds or part-time residents were still allowed to get the vaccine. At the time of writing, these residents are still allowed to get the vaccine.
About a quarter of respondents said they are opposed to people in these categories getting the vaccine while almost half approved.
Half of Respondents Aren’t Okay With Any Out-of-State Loved Ones Traveling for the Vaccine
We wanted to know if Florida residents surveyed thought it would be okay for loved ones to travel to the state for the vaccine. Half of the respondents were not okay with anyone traveling into the state. Looking at the other responses, more than a third were okay with out-of-state family members traveling to Florida to get the vaccine.
We asked a similar question in a recent survey on COVID-19 wedding travel to see if anyone would travel during the pandemic for a wedding. More than half of those respondents said they wouldn’t fly out for anyone.
Only Six Percent of Respondents Would Cross State Lines for the Vaccines
Since Florida residents were against out-of-towners from coming into the state, we wanted to hear how far they would travel for the vaccine. Less than one in ten would cross state lines for vaccines. When looking at other distances, under a third of respondents would travel within their county for the vaccine and a quarter would travel within the state.
The state of Florida has made it clear that the vaccine should not be a reason to travel to Florida. If you opt for the vaccine, check your state’s requirements and distribution plan. However, if you do decide to travel for any other reason, make sure to follow CDC travel guidelines for trips during the pandemic. If you still want to have a safe visit to the sunshine state, consider visiting a beachside town in the Florida Panhandle.
This study was conducted on behalf of FloridaPanhandle.com using Survey Monkey. The study consisted of four survey questions and the sample consisted of no less than 211 completed responses by Florida residents. The margin of error is 7%. This survey was completed in February 2021.
Disclaimer: FloridaPanhandle.com does not provide legal or medical advice. This post has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws and consult legal and medical counsel should questions arise.