Florida’s Covid-19 Vaccines Draw Foreigners, Snowbirds

Laveta Brigham

MIAMI—Visitors from Toronto to New York to Buenos Aires have long flocked to Florida for sun, surf and shopping. Now they are coming for the Covid-19 vaccine. Some of the arrivals are Americans or foreigners who own second homes in the state and reside here part-time. Others are making short-term […]

MIAMI—Visitors from Toronto to New York to Buenos Aires have long flocked to Florida for sun, surf and shopping. Now they are coming for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Some of the arrivals are Americans or foreigners who own second homes in the state and reside here part-time. Others are making short-term visits, seizing the opportunity provided by Florida’s decision to make the vaccine available to people age 65 and older, including nonresidents. The practice, which some are calling vaccine tourism, has drawn fire from some officials and residents.

Interest is up sharply from Canadians who are looking to travel to the U.S. for vaccinations, according to Momentum Jets, a private jet service provider in Toronto.

“We’re getting requests now from clients that are willing to fly into Florida, if they have an appointment, and then fly home again on the same day,” said Janelle Brind, a company vice president. Costs for a charter flight range from $25,000 to $80,000 for a same-day round trip, she said.

Martin Firestone, an insurance broker and president of Travel Secure Inc. in Toronto, said about 30% of his clientele of so-called snowbirds decided to travel to the southern U.S. in November despite the pandemic.

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