Governor OKs shorter wait time for American expats to get vaccinated

TUMON: A lone beachgoer on Thursday walks along Gun Beach in Tumon, which hasn't seen the usual crowd of tourists since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Guam shores in March 2020. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Americans living on foreign soil could soon be vaccinated on the second day of arrival on Guam, while in quarantine, rather than waiting for seven to 10 days to do so. That also means expats would have to pay for their own hotel quarantine.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Friday announced that she approved the Guam Visitors Bureau's proposed Air V&V or "vaccination and vacation" program procedures.

The governor said the Department of Public Health and Social Services also approved the general proposed process, pending submission of more specific details from GVB.

'Jumping over the hoops'

GVB President Carl Gutierrez said the Air V&V program will officially launch when hotels have submitted their proposed packages to GVB.

"They're jumping over the hoops right now to hurry up," Gutierrez said of hotels that want to participate in the Air V&V program.

Currently, any American expatriate visiting Guam for COVID-19 vaccination gets to stay free of charge at a beachside quarantine hotel with free meals, all paid for by GovGuam using federal money.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge to any American, whether living on or visiting Guam.

At present, all non-fully vaccinated travelers with negative pre-arrival PCR testing, including American expats, are required to go through 10-day quarantine upon arrival on Guam.

These expats can get tested on the sixth day of quarantine and, if they test negative, they can get out of quarantine on day seven and then start getting their COVID-19 vaccinations.

But once GVB launches the Air V&V program, American expats would have a choice of which hotel to stay in on Guam while still in quarantine. They would have to shoulder the quarantine hotel cost.

Under Air V&V, they could also opt to get their COVID-19 vaccination on their second day of arrival on Guam while still in quarantine.

Gutierrez said all this will be part of all-inclusive hotel packages that fit every budget: low, middle and high-end.

Expats who decide to get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine will be able to leave Guam soon after they receive their shot, Gutierrez said.

But if expats choose the two dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, then they can stay longer and experience what Guam has to offer, he said.

A number of American expats from Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and other countries have traveled to Guam during the past few months to get fully vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some of the expats have said there's no telling when they would get fully vaccinated in their host countries, where the vaccine rollout has been slow.

The governor and Gutierrez said Guam also plans to vaccinate non-American travelers, but that can happen only if the White House increases the number of doses for Guam for that purpose.

The priority remains the full vaccination of Guam residents, Leon Guerrero said.

The federal government already is in support of Guam's efforts at vaccinating visiting Americans, but not foreign travelers.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert


Recommended for you