The Department of Homeland Security has resume evacuation flights for refugees from Afghanistan after vaccinating almost 50,000 people awaiting relocation, the Washington Examiner reports.
The department announced that the evacuation flights from Europe and the Middle East would resume after a multi-week hiatus citing a “historic and nationwide vaccination campaign,” having vaccinated over 49,000 evacuees against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), as well as chickenpox. Almost all have also received COVID-19 vaccinations. The flights were temporarily paused early last month after measles cases were discovered among some of the evacuees.
“The U.S. government continues to take every precaution to stop the spread of COVID and other diseases, consistent with CDC guidance,” commander of U.S. Northern Command, which is overseeing Operation Allies Welcome, Gen. Glen D. VanHerck said during a press briefing on Tuesday. “The task forces have undertaken vaccination campaigns and they are rapidly approaching 100% completion of all required vaccines for 100% of the eligible Afghans.”
“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,” Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, chief medical officer for the DHS and the lead medical adviser for Operation Allies Welcome.
“The ultimate goal of Operation Allies Welcome is to successfully resettle our Afghan allies into local communities while prioritizing national security and public health,” said Robert Fenton, the senior response official for the operation. “This historic effort is part of our enduring commitment to those who supported or worked on behalf of our Nation over the last twenty years.”
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