By Marie Saavedra

CHICAGO (CBS) — There are plenty of people willing to get on a plan and fly thousands of miles to get a COVID-19 vaccine and end their waits, including a rush of expatriates making plans to get vaccinated back at home.

It’s usually not the only reason for their trip, but CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra talked with two women who made it a point to get their shots while back in the states. 

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“My dad’s American. My mom’s Swedish, so I was born and raised in Sweden,” said dual citizen Beatrice Partain, who is visiting from Sweden.

Partain is in the middle of a two-month visit to Chicago. At the top of her to-do list are reuniting with her boyfriend, getting vaccinated and visiting her ailing grandmother — in that order.

“The smaller countries, we’re put a little bit on the back burner when it comes to supply, so we have some serious supply delays,” she said.

In Sweden, phases vary among different regions, but most are only vaccinating those 60 and up. But Partain got her doses easily in Indiana. Now she will cross the pond feeling protected much sooner than she would have been.

“I know that we have a lack of vaccines in Sweden, so if I can remove a little bit of pressure, that’s always going to be a good thing,” she said.

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Partain is one of many Americans living abroad willing to travel home to be vaccinated, not wanting to wait out Europe’s rollout that the World Health Organization called “unacceptably slow.” CBS 2 found the State Department, Cook County and the City of Chicago are not tracking expatriates who come home for their doses.

Shayna Swanson, who moved her family from Chicago to Berlin last year, is among them.

“My husband found a job, and we’ve been hanging out with grandpa and locked inside of our apartment,” she said.  

Germany is vaccinating those 60 and older and essential workers. But last week, the country announced shots will be open to all adults by June. In March, Swanson and her son spent spring break in Chicago. She drove all the way to Quincy and showed her passport for her one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Now Swanson is back in that Berlin apartment with a souvenir that is hard to beat.

“Obviously you’re not invincible,” she said. “I understand that like you still have to be careful, but compared to the last year it feels like you have a power, which is awesome.”

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Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, talked about this issue last week. Another Chicagoan living abroad asked her if there would be any trouble getting vaccinated when returning home in June. She said there would be none and appointments will always be available.

Marie Saavedra