According to Our World in Data, as of May 30th the United States has reached a vaccination rate of 41%. In California alone, all residents over the age of 12 are eligible to get the vaccine, and those who have done so already are enjoying eating out, traveling, watching sports and going about their daily lives as normal.
On the other hand, although Japan is showing interest and gaining a momentum in the race to vaccinate the population, there is still a huge difference with only 2.4% vaccinated.

In contrast, although there is a show of interest, only 2.4% of Japan’s population has been vaccinated. With the Olympic games just over the horizon, it seems like Japan is gaining momentum a little too late in the race to vaccinate the population.

With vaccination steaming ahead in countries like the United States, and the contrasting progress in Japan, it comes as no surprise that individuals are willing to travel abroad if it means vaccination.

In a sort of two-birds-one-stone situation, a ‘Vaccine Study Abroad Program’ which allows participants to receive vaccination whilst studying abroad was announced on May 13th. The program will take individuals from Japan to Los Angeles or Hawaii in the United States, where they will receive vaccination and study abroad for 6 to 8 weeks. The program is intended for those who want to study abroad and improve their language skills right away, or for those who want to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Over 100 people have shown an interest in the program since it was announced in mid-May. The organisers were expecting the majority of applicants to be drawn in by the prospect of vaccination, but it turns out most inquiries were made by those in their teens and 20’s who have an interest in studying internationally.
When looking at this enthusiastic interest, it seems that although COVID-19 may have impacted international travel in the short term, it has not affected people’s desire to travel and has in fact strengthened the wanderlust.

Popular Japanese travel youtuber, Manpei, who runs the channel ‘EXIT JACK’ will be participating in this program and receiving the vaccination whilst in the United States.
His channel, which has more than 300,000 subscribers, normally focuses on Manpei’s experiences when travelling abroad. Because of COVID-19 and the impact it has had on international tourism, Manpei has not been able to run his channel as usual.
Not only will participating in this travel and vaccination program allow Manpei to get his channel back to normal, but he also hopes to share what vaccination is like, and to deliver the reality to those back in Japan who are worried about both getting the vaccine and travelling.

Manpei is scheduled to travel from 9 June 2021. In addition to receiving vaccination in Los Angeles, he will also experience and share PCR tests at airports, as well as the required self isolation after landing back in Japan.
Whilst in the United States, Manpei plans to participate in the English lessons that are included in the program.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.