More than 49,000 Afghan evacuees who have reached the U.S. have been vaccinated for chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday, taking a victory lap after mass outbreaks had shut down airlift operations.
Health officials say they also are offering the coronavirus, polio and other vaccines to the new arrivals, but it was outbreaks of chickenpox and measles that become the latest black eye on the Biden administration’s mass evacuation of people out of Kabul.
“The success of this vaccination campaign demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of arriving Afghan evacuees, the personnel assisting this mission, and the American people,” said Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, Homeland Security’s chief medical officer.
Almost all of the Afghan arrivals came under special “humanitarian parole,” meaning they were admitted under the exclusive say-so of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
One of the conditions for parole is to seek