The Citizen (Gauteng)

Latin Americans get free jabs in US


Miami Beach – A long line of people snaked across the sand of Miami Beach, Florida, as dozens of travellers from Latin America waited their turn at a pop-up coronaviru­s vaccinatio­n booth.

Sweating under the Sunday afternoon sun, visitors checked into an online system – no proof of residence required – and received a free, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

People had come from all over

Latin America where the vaccine roll-out has been slow and hampered by supply shortages. “In my country, [Covid-19] is getting out of hand and there’s not much chance we’ll have access to the vaccine soon,” accountant Maria Bonilla from Honduras, told AFP.

The 40 year old flew in with her parents, aged 63 and 73, on Saturday. The three stood in line, wearing masks. “We had to make the decision to look for a solution outside the country,” Bonilla said.

The rush to find a vaccine has been accompanie­d by a sharp surge in airfares. Flights from Buenos Aires to Miami, which usually cost around $1 000 (about R14 000), have jumped to $2 000.

Miami Beach city commission­er David Richardson, a Democrat, who oversaw the facility, said: “I think we, the United States government, should help as many people as possible.” –

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