03 Dec 2020: Indians willing to travel to UK to get coronavirus vaccine
After the British government approved the coronavirus vaccine developed by US-based Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, a number of Indians contacted travel agents, showing a willingness to travel to the country to get inoculated.
One particular travel company plans to launch a three-night package for Indians, who want to participate in the mass vaccination drive which could start next week.
Here's more on this.
Context: UK became the first country to approve vaccine
While vaccinating the 67 million population will be a long-drawn process, the British government is believed to have ordered doses that can provide protection to 20 million people.
Two shots of the vaccine, said to be 95% effective, are required.
Fast approval: 23 days after Pfizer released data, UK approved vaccine
The UK approved the vaccine merely 23 days after Pfizer disclosed the efficacy data. UK said the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) rigorously analyzed the information.
Johnson remarked, "The vaccine will begin to be made available across the UK from next week. It's the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again."
Plans: After UK's approval, Indians sent queries to travel agents
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Indians, financially capable of traveling to the foreign nation, contacted travel agents.
A Mumbai-based agent said people inquired about "how and when and if" they can travel to get vaccinated.
"The first in line to get the vaccine would be the elderly and health workers in the UK who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus," the person said.
Clarification: Another travel company is waiting for more clarity
Separately, Nishant Pitti, co-founder and CEO of EaseMyTrip.com said this is an off-season for UK travel, but after the announcement, many queries have been received. Some of them have UK visas, he told PTI.
However, the company is waiting for instructions from the UK government about the quarantine policy.
There is also little clarity on whether Indian passport holders can be vaccinated.
Fact: Travel company is working to launch a three-night package
"We are dealing with an airline to offer fixed price seats. We already have deals with London hotels. And we are planning to do some deal with a hospital over there so that we can generate a package for that," Pitti revealed.
Rules: International travelers are required to remain in self-isolation
The current rules, which will be enforced from December 15, demand every international traveler to stay in self-isolation for five days after arrival in the UK and get the RT-PCR test done on the sixth day.
Notably, the UK government has prepared a draft to prioritize people.
The list is led by residents in care homes and their carers, followed by people above 80 and frontline workers.