Some Afghan evacuees vaccinated against measles, other diseases, US military says

Some Afghan evacuees vaccinated against measles, other diseases, US military says
© Getty images

Almost 9,000 Afghan refugees being housed at United States air bases in Germany have been vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, The Associated Press reported.

The vaccination status is unclear for Afghan refugees being housed at other "lily pad" sites. In the days following the evacuation, more than 30,000 Afghans were being housed at bases abroad.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested the vaccine rollout after two U.S.-bound flights from Qatar and Germany were halted earlier this month due to a measles outbreak among Afghan evacuees who arrived in the States. It also shifted from testing refugees upon arrival in the U.S. to testing them at oversees sites before departure.

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.S. military’s 86th Airlift Wing said health officials administered various shots to more than 8,800 evacuees in a three-day span, according to the AP, with the vaccination drive at the Ramstein Air Base and the Rhine Ordnance Barracks completed on Sunday.

The Biden administration announced an executive ordered on Friday that added measles to a list of diseases that can prompt a quarantine order from public health officials. 

According to CDC data, there were 1,282 reported measles cases in 2019, the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since 1992.

The majority of cases were among people who were not vaccinated against measles. Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in communities where groups of people are unvaccinated, the CDC noted in its statement. 

The Hill has reached out to the 86th Airlift Wing for comment.