Travel agency offers ‘vaccination holiday’ from Switzerland to Russia

Tired of waiting for your turn to get vaccinated so you can go on holiday? Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Travel agency offers 'vaccination holiday' from Switzerland to Russia
Photo: Would you travel to Russia to get vaccinated? Photo: YURI KADOBNOV / AFP

While some countries have powered through the early stages of the vaccination drive, Switzerland has done so much more slowly. 

But for anyone who is tired of waiting for their jab and is concerned about whether they’ll be able to take a summer vacation, there appears to be a solution. 

People who don’t want to wait for their Pfizer or Moderna shots in Switzerland can now travel to Russia to get inoculated, according to Travel Inside Magazine.

READ MORE: Why is Zurich’s vaccination rollout the slowest in Switzerland?

A Norwegian travel agency, World Visitor, is recruiting people from Switzerland, among others, to get Sputnik V vaccines in Moscow.

The agency is offering two options: for 1,499 euros (CHF1,662), the tourist will fly to Moscow twice, get the two jabs at the airport. This way, no visa to enter Russia is needed.

In between, the traveller will stay in Istanbul. 

The second option, which costs 1,999 euros (CHF2,216), includes flying to Moscow twice, staying for four days each time, and having the vaccine administered in a local hospital.

For anyone seriously considering the plan, the costs are likely to be higher. 

In addition to the flat rate fees above, you are expected to shell out for the doctors fees/medical expenses and an interpreter to make sure there’s no communication breakdown. 

While the fee includes a booking for the vaccine, it does not include the fee for the vaccine itself. All in all, these additional costs are estimated to stack up to “a few hundred francs”. 

Swiss citizens are particularly sought after by the Norwegian travel agency due to the ease in which they can get Russian visas, Swiss newspaper 20 Minutes reports

There’s also something in it for Switzerland’s hard-hit domestic travel market.

Swiss travel agencies which act as a mediator between the budding vacationers and the Norwegian company will get a ten percent cut. 

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Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death.