Update: Lufthansa denies any plan for this,
Moscow Domodedovo Airport has a general vaccination point located within the airport in the arrivals area (landside). This vaccination center is open to airport employees, Russian citizens and foreigners with resident permit in Russia. Currently, there is no Lufthansa Lounge at Moscow Domodedovo Airport and no plans for the airline to open a vaccination center there. For further questions or details on the vaccination center, please contact Moscow Domodedovo Airport.
Lufthansa will set up a Covid-19 vaccination site inside Moscow Domodedovo airport so that people can fly in, get the Sputnik V vaccine without clearing immigration or customs, and then fly back.
Germany is “facing a chronic shortage of any vaccine at all” even though the ‘Pfizer’ vaccine was developed by German company BioNTech and “[t]he least endangered Germans have been told they may have to wait until 2022 until they can receive their jabs.” As a result,
Lufthansa is betting they are willing to buy special tickets to Moscow where the company intends to set up a special lounge in Moscow, isolated from the rest of the airport, where punters can receive their jab without the need to clear the border, and then immediately fly out again before returning a few weeks later for the booster jab.
Lufthansa is understood to be in talks with Russia’s foreign ministry about establishing a regular service between Frankfurt Airport and Moscow Domodedovo…A transit zone has already been designated at Domodedovo to give the shots.
While this is being framed as a luxury first class package, it’s expected to be priced within a range that more people can afford than you’d expect: “The cost of the medical tourism package, which would involve two round[trip] flights to Moscow, would initially be about €1,000” (US$1200). The program could be extended to Zurich and Vienna departures as well as Frankfurt.
Four key takeaways,
- If you care about equity you should favor this development. People who take advantage of Sputnik vaccination won’t be in line for other jabs, freeing up vaccine for others who can’t afford this to get their shots more quickly. It removes ‘the rich’ from competition over scarce supplies.
- More vaccination is good for everyone, since studies so far have suggested that those vaccines which have been examined don’t just protect the person vaccinated but also reduce spread. That makes people taking advantage of this less of a threat to others.
- This is appealing because of how governments have bungled vaccination. Europe worried more about price per dose than about accelerating shots in arms. They should have guaranteed purchases far earlier and incentivized quick production starting long before approval.
- The Russian vaccine is likely underrated. It was over-promoted by the Kremlin early on, and combined with being Russian that likely led to too much skepticism. But the endorsement from Lufthansa, and the belief that they can sell it to savvy consumers, is a real ‘shot in the arm’ for Russia’s vaccination program.
Ultimately we need more jabs in arms, the quicker the better, through whatever means necessary. Many governments have been more focused on who gets shots out of a limited supply than making sure people get shots, and increasing supply. That prolongs the pandemic and costs lives.