Residents of Tatarstan travel to receive European vaccines —

Pfizer, Sinovac or Astra Zeneca as new benchmarks for Turkey, Armenia, Serbia, Hungary

The demand for new destinations in vaccine tourism is growing among residents of Tatarstan. If in the fall tourists traveled to Europe to receive WHO-approved vaccines, now such an opportunity is available in Turkey, Egypt, Georgia, Armenia and a number of countries. Moreover, in some of them it is much cheaper. Thus, the Turkish authorities offer Pfizer or Sinovac vaccines to Russians who do not live and do not have a residence permit in this country since mid-January. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya found out where other citizens of the republic go and what growth of these trips to get a hit experts predict in 2022.

400 lira per shot

The Turkish Ministry of Health has published a letter on the website of the Association of Private Hospitals and Health Institutes regarding the start of vaccination of clients with WHO-approved vaccines. According to the reaction of the Association of Russian Tour Operators, tourists are expected in Istanbul, Antalya, Alanya, Kase and other cities where they can receive Pfizer or Sinovac.

Kazan tour operators and agencies are already selling vaccination tours in Turkey and other countries, the chairman of the Association of Travel Agencies of Tatarstan Ramil Miftakhov confirmed:

“It’s not a popular story, but there is demand, constant customers asking businesses for the possibility of a trip. No one deliberately advertises this product, it’s a niche event. Also, countries like Serbia, Turkey, Armenia have an advantage, no visa is needed. As flights to Europe have had to be postponed, many no longer have Schengen visas. It is not a question of money when choosing a country.

A vaccination tour cannot be called cheap, an independent tourist can save money (when going only for a vaccine). However, some residents of Tatarstan prefer to combine two things: they go to a good hotel on vacation and simultaneously receive a vaccine, which they hope to later get to European countries and the United States.

A vaccine will cost 400 lira. As a result, a tourist receives a certificate compatible with the European Green Pass system, which provides access to countries that do not recognize Russian Sputnik V.

For example, tickets to Istanbul can now cost up to 10,000 rubles from Kazan (However, this news seems ironic given the recent collapse which suspended the operation of Istanbul’s new international airport (a third), but at the same time it did not influence international flights from Sabiha Gokcen Airport) . Add the cheap hotel, meals and the vaccine itself, the sum is not huge.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

Professionals claim that vaccination tours are now offered from Kazan to Istanbul including accommodation in a three-star hotel for two nights, a dose of vaccine, transfer to the airport, hotel and clinic and a Russian-speaking guide.

Such a trip will cost an average of 45,000 for two people. Any service can be added to the visit, including a transfer to the clinic, a language service, a fee for adding data about the tourist to the system when receiving the first dose of the vaccine, it will cost 115 euros.

Clinic appointment, secondary symptoms, language barrier, return in two weeks

What problems can a Russian tourist have during a vaccination tour, for example, in the same Turkey? Because such a trip also has its drawbacks. First, it is necessary to make an appointment yourself. Secondly, you have to speak at least English (but another language cannot be used everywhere). Thirdly, no one is immune to side effects, especially if you have already received the Russian vaccine. Plus, the trip itself is stressful. Fourthly, you have to receive two shots, which means you have to go back to Turkey in three weeks. The longest validity period of a COVID-19 certificate in Europe is 9 months, moreover, in Greece for example, it is only valid for 7 months.

In addition, some tourists complain that they do not receive a paper certificate after vaccination, only an electronic certificate in the Turkish application Hayat Eve Şigar, access to which can be obtained only with a Turkish SIM card for $10-12.

The Moscow option of such a tour costs an average of 46,400 rubles (flight, accommodation in a three-star hotel for two nights in the city center with breakfast, transfer from the airport to the hotel, vaccination, Russian-speaking guide and accompaniment). Not surprisingly, the total percentage of vaccinated travelers is only one-tenth of one percent.


To compare, a flight from Moscow to Serbia costs 22,000. Moreover, the vaccination itself is free, as in other countries (Turkey is an exception).

Previously, only hotels or hostels made appointments for tourists in Serbia, but now access to vaccination is free, no appointment is necessary. Tourists are vaccinated daily.

In Turkey, most Russian tourists living in resorts for a long time prefer vaccination with Pfizer or Sinovac in Turkey. For example, Alexander S. received the first blow in Antalya:

“No certificates are needed, there is no queue, Turkish is not needed,” the man told Realnoe Vremya correspondent. “Any vaccine can be received, the one you want. A booster shot after Sputnik is not a problem. But this will not give you the European Green PASS, because today the system does not allow to consider Sputnik as the first vaccine before the booster. I do not feel any side effect, there is a slight pain at the injection site as if my biceps had been touched.

Also, another dose can be received in another city in Turkey, the tourist said.

A similar schedule is used in Armenia where a two-dose vaccination with Astra Zeneca or Moderna can be done. Vaccines are administered in shopping malls in Yerevan. The Russians are offered a booster after two doses of Sputnik.

Radif Kashapov


Rose D. Jones