Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Vaccine Tourism


Lufthansa is eyeing the prospect of flying customers in and out of Moscow for the sole purpose of receiving the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19. The offer would include two round trip tickets for the two dosses from various European cities and be priced at about 1000 euros.

I was wondering when market forces would enter into COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Most countries are distributing it free to recipients and so have developed rationing mechanisms. Market mechanisms, like this one, ration by price. Since the wealthy and health compromised would have higher willingness-to-pay, more of them would expected to "jump the line." The Lufthansa proposal is merely the most overt example of vaccine line jumping. I suspect that the wealthy have been able to get vaccinated early either by pulling strings behind the scenes or simply using the black market.

John Cochrane has outlined a much more free market approach and claims it would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

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