Couple spent over $20,000 traveling to US to get vaccine against COVID: Sorocaba and Jundiak ‘more viable’

Couple spent over $20,000 traveling to US to get vaccine against COVID: Sorocaba and Jundiak 'more viable'

María Ligia Rez Pedro and Gabriel Pedro Jr are 63 and 65 years old respectively. By the time they traveled, in early April, the vaccination campaign had not yet reached their age groups in Brazil. Neither is comorbidity.

The couple was born in Sorocaba and moved to the US in 1998, when Gabriel was transferred to the North American unit of the company he works for. Since then, the two have been split between a home in the city of Princeton, which is in New Jersey, and another in So Paulo (SP).

Survey shows increase in epidemic numbers in Sorocaba region

In early 2020, María Leggia and Gabriel, who have a US Green Card (a permanent residency document given to foreigners by the US government), decided to return to Brazil to see their family again. Soon after, the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.

Fearing possible contamination, the couple decided to stay in So Paulo until April this year, when they returned to the US for a guaranteed vaccine against the disease. After receiving the vaccination agent, the two returned to So Paulo.

The trip to Miami, Florida lasted five days, focusing on vaccination. Taking into account airline tickets, hotels and car rentals, Maria Leggia calculated that she disbursed approximately US$4,000, or more than $20,000.

“We were in a time when you didn’t need to register. You just had to show up at the place and get vaccinated. We don’t even need to quarantine. In our case, because we have a green card, the chance to get the vaccine The option was much more viable and being a single dose, it was perfect”, he remarked.

A syringe is filled with Johnson Vaccine during vaccination in the United States – Photo: John Cherry / Getty Images via AFP

The housewife’s family in Brazil is made up of seven brothers and 30 nephews. Four relatives contracted Covid-19 and all had only mild symptoms of the disease.

“The fact that we still do not have enough vaccines in Brazil is regrettable, sad and often revolts us, but we are positive people and we believe this situation will improve”, says Maria Ligia.

In an announcement made by officials on Thursday (3), the United States added Brazil to a list of more than 40 countries that will receive part of the first batch of donations of vaccines against COVID-19. The first will be 25 lakh doses.

However, there are still no exact numbers on how many doses Brazil will receive. That’s because the country would need to share roughly six million with at least 14 other Latin American countries.

In total, the US has pledged to redistribute nearly 80 million doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to other countries by the end of June.

New York (USA) Transport worker receives the COVID-19 vaccine – Photo: Shannon Stapleton / Archive / Reuters

According to experts, the announcement of the immediate donation of vaccines from the US represents a significant, though small, aid to immunization against COVID-19 in Brazil.

“For those who don’t have a strategic stock of vaccines, any amount will help,” says Dr. Alexandre Naim, chief of infectology at State University Paulista. Every immunized person matters.” (UNESP), in Botukatu (SP).

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About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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