The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly recommending that the Biden administration impose a 21-day waiting period following the measles vaccination before Afghan evacuees board flights to the U.S.
The recommendation comes after the Biden administration last week temporarily paused flights with Afghan evacuees from entering the U.S. after four diagnosed cases of measles were detected among newly arrived Afghan nationals.
The order stopped flights that were transporting evacuees from Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, according to Politico.
Two more cases have since been reported among Afghans who recently arrived in the U.S. According to a memo viewed and cited by Politico, 127 people are in quarantine at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico because of exposure to the disease.
The CDC is now recommending that Afghan evacuees do not enter the U.S. until they develop immunity from the measles vaccine, Politico reported on Monday, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The U.S. government started vaccinating Afghans against measles last week. Some 8,800 evacuees were vaccinated in a three-day span last week, among a total of 13,600 Afghans still housed at bases abroad, according to defense officials. About 53,000 evacuees are already in the U.S.
The vaccine was already required for refugees upon their arrival in the U.S., but after the pause on flights shots are now being administered abroad.
The Biden administration on Friday added measles to the list of quarantinable diseases, in response to the small outbreak among the Afghan evacuees. The move gives the CDC the authority to issue federal quarantine orders, which would mandate people who have been diagnosed with or exposed to the disease to self-isolate.
The Hill reached out to the CDC and White House for comment.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Beitsch