American expats are heading back to the US for vaccinations

(CNN) – Eric Barry has been experiencing seemingly endless worries in his life for the past year.

The 35-year-old author and podcast writer, from California’s Bay Area, was researching a book in Ecuador when the global epidemic broke out in March 2020.

For the next 12 months, after Barry tried to set up his new home in Berlin, where he was studying for a master’s degree, he encountered a setback: a house that was sold on a notoriously rental market in Berlin; attempting to obtain a residence permit in Germany may have been sent to his former address; and walk to unusual health practices that they do not know will get vaccinated.

Now, Barry is back in the United States for something he owns: his recent Covid-19 shooting. Hearing the comments of a colleague a few weeks ago to go to the US to receive his vaccine “sowed the seeds,” he says.

“And on Facebook I started to see American waves coming back, and I think, maybe that’s something I want to do,” Barry says as he waits in Starbucks before his first three-minute, 30-plus-hour flight to California, where he plans to stay with his mother. who have already been vaccinated.

“I never thought that, when I leave the United States for Germany, I promise to be healthy, within a year and return to the US to receive medical treatment.”

This seems to be growing among Americans living on the other side – especially those in Europe who are frustrated with the release of the vaccine which the World Health Organization has criticized in a recent report as “delayed.”

Only 10% of Europeans currently receive the first shot in two installments, and most countries, including Germany and France, are at an all-time high.

A vaccine security poster hangs from Berlin Cathedral in Germany. Some Americans living in Europe are frustrated with the slow release of the vaccine and are returning to the US to shoot.

Maja Hitij / Getty Photos in Europe

‘We all felt refreshed’

It’s very different in the Atlantic where so many US countries continue to open up vaccinations to all 16-year-olds, with “I Got the Shot” and more and more vaccine selfies on television.

The United States continues to compile daily medical records, and President Joe Biden has promised that by the end of May – a target raised by two months – the US will have enough vaccines for every adult who wants one.

Some foreign Americans want to take action, too.

Spokespersons from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection told CNN via email that they do not keep information about U.S. citizens living overseas returning with their vaccine.

But it is good that there are a few others who do this on the way to the US, whose borders are closed except for US citizens.

Mindy Chung, her husband, and their young son were recently married. Chung and her husband decided earlier this year to leave Berlin, where they live, for their move to California after her doctor told her in Germany that she would not be able to receive the vaccine soon, even if she became ill.

“That was the same moment, yeah, we can’t be,” says Chung.

A few days after arriving in California about a week ago, Chung and her husband were selected.

“As soon as we finished the scan and shot, we all felt so relieved that we had some more protection,” says Chung.

Meanwhile, American online groups are on the rise in terms of travel restrictions and border closures and countries are pushing for proof of residency. Others share ground updates on how the project went.

Vaccination facilities at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin became operational on March 8. Some American expats are flying to the US for immediate vaccination.

Vaccination facilities at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin became operational on March 8. Some American expats are flying to the US for immediate vaccination.

Michele Tantussi / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

‘There is no right answer’

Don’t worry, there can be dangers, too, on the Internet and in real life.

“Sometimes there is a perception that, since you live here, it has a part,” said Austin Langlois, a former digital diplomat who moved to Amsterdam to work as a communicator for the entire summer of 2020. ” , and the police to go to the United States to get your vaccine, so that they can be treated quickly. ”

Langlois’ qualification for shooting in the Netherlands is starting to fall, which “has a long way to go,” says Langlois, from Michigan.

“My view is that there should be no argument over what [vaccine] you find it or where you find it. Everyone should get it as fast as they can, as much as they can, because this will help the health of our team. “

That said, Langlois is considering returning to the US this spring, he has not bought a ticket. He remains hopeful that the Netherlands will improve its vaccination work and wants to “honor” the current technology in the movement. He is also monitoring the crisis in the United States.

“We’re in the middle of a third wave in the US, which is why you also have some problems,” Langlois said. “Do you go and put yourself and others at risk of getting your first vaccination, or are you waiting to get your vaccine here, who knows when? There is no right answer, and no clear answer.”

Summer enjoys the shores of the Seine in Paris on March 31. Hospitals are on the rise in the city and vaccinations are declining in France.

People enjoy the warmer shores of the Seine in Paris on March 31. Medical malpractice is on the rise in the city and vaccination rates are declining in France.

Rafael Yaghobzadeh / Getty Photos in Europe

‘Restoring Authority’

For emerging and healthy Americans, elections play another role. Ali Garland, a travel blogger based in Berlin, says that although she has a disease that puts her in the most important category, it is not known when her shooting will take place, and when her husband could reach 2022.

The dangers and difficulties of the journey itself – flying with their puppy, finding temporary housing in the US – are dangerous. That’s why Garland and her husband remain calmly “wait to see”.

“A big part of why I’m thinking of going back to the US and improving,” Garland told CNN via email. “Last year I felt like I was missing out on my life. That’s why it’s almost as if everything has been taken away from me, and I think going to the US to get vaccinated a few months before it would feel like I’m getting my hands back.”

Eileen Cho, a Seattle freelance writer and photographer from Seattle, knows this. Cho spent three months with the family in the United States before returning to France in March – and moving on.

Cho has heard alarming reports of other expat the confiscation of their cards at the French border. This makes him reluctant to return to the US to be vaccinated, but prevents him from re-entering France, where he lives for six years and now feels like home.

However, Cho, who is said to have severe asthma, said that if the situation did not improve by June, he could fly to the US for vaccination.

“All my friends have been vaccinated or have time to meet, and they send me vaccines selfies,” says Cho. “Obviously, I’m very happy with them. But because of the way things are going in Europe, right now it just feels like there’s no hope.”

Blane Bachelor is a Florida, Berlin-based journalist who writes about travel, foreign, family planning and women doing amazing things. Visit her website at

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