As the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) surpasses 30,000 vaccine doses administered at the Airport recently, a clear trend has emerged: more and more foreign travelers are making vaccination a part of their visit to San Francisco. Known as “vaccine tourism,” this concept represents the fastest-growing category of visitors to the SFO Medical Clinic, where the free Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine is administered. At present, 80 per cent of new vaccine appointments at SFO are coming from non-US citizens, and over 1,000 doses have already been administered to visitors from 58 countries around the world.
“This trend truly represents a win-win situation for all,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “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. My thanks go out to the entire team for making this program a reality.”
Since late May, the SFO Medical Clinic, located pre-security in the International Terminal, has been offering free single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines on an appointment basis.
SFO first offered vaccines onsite in February, when it partnered with the County of San Mateo to provide vaccines to health care workers and County residents over 65. 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.
SFO also launched a vaccination clinic in early May, located in the International Terminal, which offered doses to airport workers, local residents, and travelers. This program was administered through a partnership with Safeway and administered almost 2,200 doses.