French Polynesia Adds Tiered Health Fee Based On Vaccination Status

French Polynesia Adds Tiered Health Fee Based On Vaccination Status

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Travelers to French Polynesia now have to pay a “health surveillance fee,” and the amount due is based on whether or not you’re vaccinated. That’s noteworthy, because I don’t believe we’ve seen anything like that before.

French Polynesia’s health surveillance fee

As of July 20, 2021, French Polynesia has introduced a new fee for arriving travelers. Specifically, a “health surveillance fee” has been added, which needs to be paid prior to travel while obtaining an electronic travel authorization.

What’s interesting is that the fee varies based on whether or not you’re vaccinated:

  • Vaccinated travelers have to pay 5,000 XPF (~$49)
  • Unvaccinated travelers have to pay 12,000 XPF (~$118)

Some people are excluded from this fee, including children under six years old, students residing in French Polynesia, those returning from medical evacuation, flight crews, and health professionals.

What’s included with this fee? As it’s described, this is intended to “cover part of the costs” associated with coronavirus health measures on the islands. The fee covers the processing of administrative and sanitary requests, ETIS procedures, rapid antigen testing on arrival, and tracing of passengers disembarking in French Polynesia.

Unvaccinated travelers have to pay a higher fee than vaccinated travelers

This fee structure is logical, but a moot point

The tiered fee for arriving passengers in French Polynesia makes a lot of sense to me:

  • It’s fair to charge a fee if rapid antigen testing on arrival is required, and charging for that upfront makes a lot of sense
  • Unvaccinated travelers pose a higher risk than vaccinated travelers, so from a “health surveillance” perspective it makes sense that they’d be charged more; there’s a higher chance they’ll get the virus, and also a higher chance they’ll need to be hospitalized, which poses a significant challenge in a place like French Polynesia
  • In general I’m all for creating incentives for people to get vaccinated, whatever form that comes in

That being said, for the time being this price differential is largely a moot point. French Polynesia is currently only welcoming vaccinated travelers for tourism purposes. Unvaccinated travelers are only allowed to enter French Polynesia for “compelling reasons,” which includes health, work, or family. I would imagine that makes up a small percentage of arriving international travelers.

French Polynesia is only open to vaccinated tourists

Bottom line

French Polynesia has added a new health surveillance fee for travelers, which covers things like rapid antigen testing on arrival, among other things. What’s interesting is that the fee is higher for unvaccinated people than vaccinated people.

For the time being the fee difference won’t matter all that much, since French Polynesia is only open to vaccinated visitors, and if you’re not vaccinated you need a “compelling reason” to visit. So I would have to imagine that a vast majority of arriving travelers are vaccinated.

What do you make of French Polynesia’s tiered health fee?

(Tip of the hat to YHBU)

Conversations (14)
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  1. Ouch for COVID fees

    Aruba required us to get “COVID insurance” for our stay, $30 for 14+ and $10 for 13 & under, in addition to getting PCR test before going or be charged $75 for airport test and then 24 hour quarantine. Then had to get another (this time antigen test) for $40 each to RE-enter US. A racket.

  2. Bob

    At EC2:

    You say " Israel has the majority of their seriously ill patients being fully vaccinated." Sure - that's how math works. That stat alone doesn't mean that the vaccines are losing their effectiveness.

    Israel has a majority of it's population fully vaccinated. So a smaller percentage of those people getting sick compared to a larger percentage of the non-vaxxed getting sick can still result in more vaxxed people in the hospital than non-vaxxed....

    At EC2:

    You say " Israel has the majority of their seriously ill patients being fully vaccinated." Sure - that's how math works. That stat alone doesn't mean that the vaccines are losing their effectiveness.

    Israel has a majority of it's population fully vaccinated. So a smaller percentage of those people getting sick compared to a larger percentage of the non-vaxxed getting sick can still result in more vaxxed people in the hospital than non-vaxxed. Similar thing in the UK with something like 40% or more of the hospitalizations being vaccinated. Doesn't mean that an individual who is vaccinated is more likely to be hospitalized than an unvaccinated person...it's quite clearly the opposite.

    The vaccines never meant you were "bullet-proof" - they mean you are significantly less likely to get sick, and if you do get sick, you are significantly less likely to have a bad outcome.

  3. Dick Bupkiss

    I am 100% in agreement with Jon above here. Spot-on. It's time for the anti-vaxx morons to grow up and either get with the program, or sit at home in their cabins up in the mountains. I am absolutely in favor of incentivizing getting the jabs, and penalizing those who refuse to. Expect more of this ahead, and stop apologizing for this and coddling the idiots. They are going to act up like spoiled children...

    I am 100% in agreement with Jon above here. Spot-on. It's time for the anti-vaxx morons to grow up and either get with the program, or sit at home in their cabins up in the mountains. I am absolutely in favor of incentivizing getting the jabs, and penalizing those who refuse to. Expect more of this ahead, and stop apologizing for this and coddling the idiots. They are going to act up like spoiled children anyway, whether you do anything to try to convince them to get vaxxed or not, so get on with it and quit apologizing for the increasingly stringent measures to come. Bring it on, please!

    1. Eskimo

      There are a lot of people who are not anti-vaxx but refuse to get vaccinated for Covid-19 at the moment.
      You do know that emergency use means we are just part of a larger human test group. Covid vaccine is the worlds largest science experiment and we are all lab rats. But hey, if rats still wants to go outside, have drinks, and travel. Rats will need a stab.

    2. Ralph4878

      Except it's not an experiment - those were done over the last few decades in the development of mRNA vaccines, as anyone who has done any kind of reading on them vaccines will tell you. This science is not new at all, and emergency use doesn't mean we are "just part of a larger human test group" - it means a previously vetted technology that was on-track for FDA approval was pushed forward because of the unprecedented need for them.

  4. John

    I agree why your saying that unvaccinated should pay more but you mentioning that your all for getting people vaccinated was completely unnecessary. It was a bit off topic and definitely annoys me because it’s my body and my choice if I want the vaccine. It looks like I’ll be finding another blogger to read.

    1. Jim Lovejoy

      So you need to go to your safe space?
      And the righties say that everyone else is a snowflake.

  5. EC2

    Hard pass. Even if no vaccination requirement I do not trust the current testing. Not taking a chance on a false negative test trying to get back to the US. And those that are vaccinated and think they are bullet proof think again. Better have funds and the time to stay somewhere if you test positive trying to return. Israel has the majority of their seriously ill patients being fully vaccinated. Fact is the vaccines...

    Hard pass. Even if no vaccination requirement I do not trust the current testing. Not taking a chance on a false negative test trying to get back to the US. And those that are vaccinated and think they are bullet proof think again. Better have funds and the time to stay somewhere if you test positive trying to return. Israel has the majority of their seriously ill patients being fully vaccinated. Fact is the vaccines are losing their effectiveness. One just won’t know how protected you actually are when you travel.

    1. Ralph4878

      The number of "seriously ill" in Israel is tiny now - as compared to a year ago - that the majority of Isaelis are vaccinated...ask an epidemiologist or public health offial (you know, an expert!) what "base rate fallacy" is before you play health expert on this blog...

  6. Jon

    It needs to be SIGNIFICANTLY higher for unvaccinated.

    $120 one-time fee is nothing. It should be something closer to $1000-$5000 to cover the costs of medical care, hospitalization, contact-tracing, and any other action necessitated from voluntary, leisure travel.

    Maybe the tiering should be based on vaccine availability in the origin country or by age (ie under 12 can't get any vaccines anyways). A lower fine for those who are unable to get a vaccine,...

    It needs to be SIGNIFICANTLY higher for unvaccinated.

    $120 one-time fee is nothing. It should be something closer to $1000-$5000 to cover the costs of medical care, hospitalization, contact-tracing, and any other action necessitated from voluntary, leisure travel.

    Maybe the tiering should be based on vaccine availability in the origin country or by age (ie under 12 can't get any vaccines anyways). A lower fine for those who are unable to get a vaccine, with a punitive fine for anyone who -chooses- not to get a vaccine?

    Maybe a $500/day fee instead? The longer you stay and the more people they come into contact with, the higher the potential impact on cost on the medical system.

    1. Eskimo

      Your reply is just another reason to get a fake test or fake vaccination certificate.

      Uncomfortable with fakes?
      I bet those leech online ESA doctors can get you a real one too.

  7. Lars

    So, reading between the lines here, would you say this is a signal that French Polynesia will be reopening for tourism to the unvaccinated in the near future?

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EC2

Hard pass. Even if no vaccination requirement I do not trust the current testing. Not taking a chance on a false negative test trying to get back to the US. And those that are vaccinated and think they are bullet proof think again. Better have funds and the time to stay somewhere if you test positive trying to return. Israel has the majority of their seriously ill patients being fully vaccinated. Fact is the vaccines are losing their effectiveness. One just won’t know how protected you actually are when you travel.

Ralph4878

The number of "seriously ill" in Israel is tiny now - as compared to a year ago - that the majority of Isaelis are vaccinated...ask an epidemiologist or public health offial (you know, an expert!) what "base rate fallacy" is before you play health expert on this blog...

Ralph4878

Except it's not an experiment - those were done over the last few decades in the development of mRNA vaccines, as anyone who has done any kind of reading on them vaccines will tell you. This science is not new at all, and emergency use doesn't mean we are "just part of a larger human test group" - it means a previously vetted technology that was on-track for FDA approval was pushed forward because of the unprecedented need for them.

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