Have You Heard of Vaccine Tourism for the Rich in Dubai?


COVID-19 has influenced our lives in the simplest ways yet changed our lifestyle massively. It has prevented us from doing the smallest of things like going to a coffee shop with friends and attending events, parties and concerts. It feels as if these things were done in another universe because they just seem so out of the norm now. More importantly, It resulted in millions of deaths worldwide and affected a lot of people’s mental health. 

With the recent advancements in the new vaccines against the coronavirus, every country is trying to get their hands on it. However, the first issue with this race is that it is much easier for developed countries to get their hands on mass shipment of the vaccine as opposed to developing countries where they don’t have enough money to even be able to afford vaccines for everyone. The second issue is that even when the vaccines have entered specific countries they are getting individuals vaccinated in a specific order; from most prone to getting affected by Coronavirus to least likely to be affected. Naturally the most prone to being affected by the virus are the elderly, and individuals in old homes. The third issue is that sometimes vaccines are being delayed, shipment is taking forever, or even not enough are coming in at a time which is slowing down the process of having the elderly vaccinated by a set time so they can move on to other people. This is also raising a lot of eyebrows but specifically from the rich minority in many countries; this goes for both developed and undeveloped. This is where vaccine tourism comes into play. 

Apparently, one country has a solution to all the issues because rich tourists in Dubai are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. It is not a complete shock to us that Dubai has already secured an abundance of vaccines and if you look at it, it’s quite smart for them to lure rich individuals from countries so they can be the first to get a vaccine. This not only booms their tourism in a time of need when there is none due to a pandemic, but it is also great for the travellers because now they have received the vaccine earlier and saves them the pain of desperately waiting. 

As health officials are waiting to finally be able to get vaccinated so they can feel much safer at their workplaces, the rich are onto different plans. They are boarding flights to the next plane that lands in Dubai for a 2 in 1 action; a vacation and to be finally cured of the virus. So how are these rich people actually beating you to the vaccine? All this is made possible by an exclusive travel and lifestyle service called Kingsbridge circle. Members of this service can pay up to 25 000 euros to be looked after by personal managers who take care of their every need while they are on vacation. Before the pandemic customers could expect a table at the top restaurant, and a top of the line experience package to be provided when they join the service. 

Kingsbridge circle CEO Sturat McNeil describes his customers as royalty, celebs, business people like entrepreneurs and CEOs. He is now making a fortune selling these individuals top of the line luxury vacation experience while also adding in a full covered Covid-19 vaccination shots. The customers will even get to choose between the various vaccines that are out there right now like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm. 

Their most recent customer of Dubai’s vaccine tourism is a wealthy couple from the UK which will fly out to Dubai and stay in a luxury villa with all of their necessities, specific needs and reservations taken care of. They will go into a private medical clinic to get their first round of the vaccine, and then three weeks later return and get their final shot. This will leave them protected against the coronavirus and ahead of the game in comparison with most of us still waiting for the vaccines. The Kingsbridge service has changed a little bit ever since the pandemic has taken place, he explains, that he had been told to organize exercise bikes, virtual wine tastings and COVID-19 tests. There have also been a lot of mental health issues, so their team has been arranging Zoom calls with therapists, weight loss programs, and nutritionists. 

Karim Sahib (AFP)

This concept of vaccine tourism in Dubai has raised a lot of eyebrows. Many health care workers are complaining about still not receiving the vaccine because they need to wait for the elderly to finish getting their shots. Many individuals have also raised their concern about rich privilege and how they are fleeing from their countries to another country to get a vaccine when Dubai still has rural areas and minorities that might not be able to get it. It’s also important to consider that the vaccines are still very limited and officials are trying their best to distribute the shots to all countries that need them urgently. There is a big chance that the majority of the world will never get the vaccine or at a much later time. 

The rich tourists in Dubai that are getting a Covid vaccine also need to understand that they have access to amenities that the majority of the population doesn’t. They are able to get the top of the line doctors, healthcare workers, medication, psychologists, and entertainment amenities to keep them busy in the house. We understand that everyone is scared and this is a difficult time for everyone. For the first time in many years, we are in a situation where everyone needs to work side by side to be able to push through together. So from our team at YLT to you, please do your part, stay home and stay safe. 

by Mariam Asif – YLT Staff

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