Mother warns people to get Covid vaccine as son, 24, undergoes double lung transplant

Blake Bargatze faces eight months recovery and rehabilitation after battling Covid

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 15 July 2021 19:53
Mother encourages Covid vaccine as son, 24, undergoes double lung transplant
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The family of a 24-year-old man who underwent a double lung transplant is urging young people to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

Cheryl Nuclo, of Georgia, told local Atlanta broadcaster WSB-TV 2 that her son Blake Bargatze had no underlying conditions when he contracted Covid-19.

“He had called me that Friday when he got the results,” Ms Nuclo said, “and he’s like, ‘Mom, you’re going to be mad. I got COVID.’”

She said he vaped regularly but otherwise had no diabetes and no hypertension when he caught Covid travelling to Florida in April for an indoor concert.

He has since spent three months across three hospitals in Florida, Atlanta and Maryland and is now working to walk again.

Stepfather Paul Nuclo told the station that he wanted to wait a couple of years to see if there were any side effects, but now wishes he hadn’t.

“As soon as he got in the hospital, though, he said he wished he had gotten the vaccine,” he said.

He was the only one in the family not to get a vaccine shot, and Ms Nuclo is hoping others don’t follow his example.

“Maybe if some people were kind of on the fence and swaying, he wants them to see what might be the extreme of what can happen … Not using a fear tactic, but it can happen.”

“I just don’t ever want anybody else to go through this,” she said.

A GoFundMe has raised $33,000 for the surgery, which friends say came after "complications" during his hospital stay. He will need another six to eight months in recovery and rehabilitation in Baltimore.

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