UPDATED 9:04 AM PT – Tuesday, September 14, 2021
U.S. bound flights for Afghan evacuees have been paused due to a measles outbreak. The Biden administration made the announcement on Monday, which could stall evacuee relocation for up to a week.
As many as 12,000 refugees will remain in Air Force bases in Germany and Qatar, while the CDC attempts to stop the spread as soon as possible. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby explained the discovery of stateside cases.
“There have been five diagnosed cases of measles among new arrivals so far and we are closely monitoring just in case more emerged,” he stated. “We already announced one case that was confirmed last week at Fort McCoy and three cases were confirmed on Thursday night among new arrivals who flew into Dulles Airport here in the D.C. area.”
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) September 13, 2021
Infected evacuees already in America will be quarantined while the CDC will be performing contact tracing to try to identify any future cases. Measles vaccines are now mandatory for all refugees before coming to the U.S.
“So all arriving Afghans are currently required to be vaccinated for measles as a condition of their humanitarian parole and critical immunizations, including MMR, are being administered for Afghans at safe havens on military bases in the United States,” Kirby continued. “We will soon be vaccinating Afghans for MMR while they are still overseas.”
Evacuee relocation could be stalled for more than a week.