US restarts Afghan refugee flights after measles

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Afghan refugees will soon be returning to the United States after a major campaign to vaccinate against measles after a minor outbreak that caused a three-week pause in evacuations, officials said on Monday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Afghan refugees will soon be returning to the United States after a major campaign to vaccinate against measles after a minor outbreak that caused a three-week pause in evictions, officials said on Monday.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, officials have vaccinated about 49,000 evacuees temporarily staying at US military bases and currently at transit points in Europe and the Middle East.

The measles outbreak, identified in 24 people, suspended one of the largest refugee resettlement efforts in US history, called Operation Welcome Allies, and nearly 15,000 were stranded at overseas crossing points.

DHS chief medical officer Dr. Announcing its completion, Pritesh Gandhi said, “The success of this vaccination campaign demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of Afghans evacuated, the personnel assisting this mission, and the American people.” your effort.

Officials said that anyone arriving from Afghanistan on evacuation was also tested for COVID-19, and about 84 percent of refugees in the US and overseas crossing points were vaccinated for the virus.

The US evacuated nearly 120,000 people in the chaotic days after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August. U.S. citizens were a mix of Afghans who were legal permanent residents or applied for visa and refugee status with their families.

Testifying before Congress last week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Majorkas said that the United States has received approximately 60,000 people, of which about 7% are American citizens and about 6% are permanent residents, from the airlift from Afghanistan. About 3% obtained special immigrant visas for people who, along with their families, worked as translators or in another role for the US government or its allies during the war.

The remainder are a combination of people who are in the process of completing special immigrant visas or who are considered likely candidates for refugee status because they are human rights activists, journalists, or others deemed particularly vulnerable under the Taliban rule or for other reasons. All pass through security review before arriving in the US

There are currently about 53,000 Afghans who remain at eight US military bases and receive medical care and other assistance before settling in the US periphery.

About 4,000 Afghans at US bases have completed medical screening and the required 21-day quarantine after receiving the measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox vaccine, which most Americans receive, General Glen VanHerck, head of the US Northern Command, told reporters on Thursday. in childhood.

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