WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. — Brian Franklin is a world traveler who’s travel plans were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I travel internationally quite a bit for my job, so around Latin America,” Franklin said. “We have offices in Brazil and Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay. Headquarters here in the US, so traveling is fairly critical for my job and industry.”
Woodford County’s Brian Franklin currently calls Argentina home after taking an assignment there for a job. For Brian, the worldwide pandemic has not only limited his travel plans, but it limited his ability to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m not a citizen of Argentina. I have my residency, but not citizenship, so I would fall in the last line of people that would be able to obtain the vaccine there for not being a citizen in Argentina,” he said.
After contacting his family and the Woodford County Health department, Brian and his girlfriend Cintia Banega discovered their best chance to get vaccinated was to return to the Bluegrass, a place they felt confident could offer them the vaccine.
“Seeing that Kentucky was moving forward with the different levels of vaccines and everything, I started seeking out when my age group or stuff would be available to receive the vaccine, worked with my bosses, very cooperative assisting in those matters, wanting us to be safe employees for the company and for the future of the business,” Franklin said.
A 14-hour flight followed by days of waiting would only lead to disappointment as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was no longer an option. Use of the one-dose shot was halted in the U.S. after the extremely rare side effect of blood clots left one person dead
“Johnson & Johnson was shut down the day before we were scheduled to get the single dose vaccine,” Franklin said. “Better safe than sorry. I don’t want to take something that’s not safe. But we were able to shift gears, coordinate with the Woodford County Health Department who has helped us greatly.”
Luckily, the Woodford County Health Department helped Brian and Cintia work out a plan for them to both receive the two-dose Moderna vaccine.
“We’re, I’m so happy because Brian opened the door of the country, and the people here and the nurse, they were so helpful,” Banega said. “Yeah. For helping me to get a shot, so I’m so, so thankful for that.”
Thankful for the opportunity, but now facing more than 40-hours of additional air travel to return to Kentucky a second time to get their second dose of the vaccine.
“The unfortunate part of that is that it is a two-step vaccine, so we will possibly be coming back in another month to get round two,” Franklin said. “Again, another challenge is getting back here. But even if we’re not able to due to airline restrictions or country travel bans or whatever, I feel like 75 to 82% efficacy against the virus is better than 0%.”