We’re still receiving reports on a daily basis of eligible people not being able to get an appointment for a COVID vaccination or being told that the next available appointment is months away. That situation didn’t seem to present any problems for popular Mexican television host Juan Jose’ Origel. The daytime television fixture traveled to Florida this week and filmed himself being vaccinated inside of a car and then uploaded the video to YouTube. This led to some immediate pushback from Floridians who wanted to know how a tourist was able to get a shot immediately upon arrival in the state when lifetime residents are being told to wait for months. (NY Post)
A popular Mexican TV host is under fire after traveling to Florida just to get the coveted COVID-19 vaccine, which most Americans have not received.
Juan José Origel, who’s famous for hosting Mexican daytime shows such as “Ventaneando,” “Hoy” and “La Oreja,” posted a photo on Twitter Saturday showing him getting a shot on his right arm as he’s sitting inside a car.
“Already vaccinated!! Thanks #usa what a shame my country couldn’t grant me that security!!!” Origel wrote.
It’s unclear how he made the vaccine appointment.
Here’s the video of the entertainer celebrating his accomplishment.
This is yet another example of what’s come to be known as vaccine tourism. Origel is 73 years old, so he meets the minimum requirements to qualify for an appointment in Florida. But he’s not a resident. He’s not even a citizen.
Origel is complaining that the vaccine rollout in his own country is too slow. I’m sure that’s something that many Americans can relate to, but it still doesn’t answer the question of how he managed to get an appointment when so many state residents are being told to wait. Since when do tourists qualify as essential workers or being otherwise deserving of head-of-the-line privileges?
As the AP reports, Origel wasn’t nearly the first celebrity “vaccine tourist” to get this treatment and it’s not just celebrities that are doing it. An Argentinian television personality recently flew her mother to Florida and was able to get her vaccinated. And let’s not forget that we have our own wealthy American celebrities who have been managing to jump to the head of the line… somehow.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Canadians have been coming over the border to be vaccinated and going home the same day. That’s certainly odd when you consider that Justin Trudeau recently extended the travel ban he has in place with the United States until at least February. So it’s not okay for our citizens to visit Canada, but it’s fine for them to come down here, use up our vaccines and go back home? Joe Biden has shown some enthusiasm for travel bans recently. What does he have to say about all of this?
A spokesman for the Florida Department of Health issued a statement saying that what Origel did is unacceptable. “It is absolutely not permitted for someone to come into Florida for one day to receive the vaccine and leave the next.” He went on to ask that residents report any such incidents of vaccine tourism to his department immediately. But it’s not clear what can be done about it after the fact. You can’t make them give the vaccine back after it’s in the person’s arm. What else will you do? Arrest them?
The problem here doesn’t lie with the tourists as much as the people organizing the vaccination centers. They have to be checking identification for every person being injected if only for contact tracing purposes. Surely they knew that Origel wasn’t from Florida when this was set up. If you want to hold somebody accountable, find the person that arranged for the TV star’s celebrity treatment and cancel them.