It has been more than a year and a half since the COVID pandemic occurred. Health professionals and officials continue to stress that the best approach to prevent new cases is to increase vaccination rates, especially when highly transmissible varieties like Delta proliferate.
In a recently published article in Yahoo Life, President Joe Biden of the United States has revealed a new plan that involves mandatory vaccinations for many workers, including those in the healthcare and federal sectors. But that’s just one of the ways the US government is working on getting people vaccinated; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the latest to take action.
COVID Vaccination: A requirement for U.S. Citizenship
On September 14, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that a complete vaccination against COVID would be one of the requirements for United States citizenship. The new rule will take effect on October 1, and it will demand confirmation of vaccination before a civil surgeon can perform an immigration medical examination for an individual’s application.
USCIS said they are modifying their policy guidelines under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) amendment to the Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons on August 17, 2021. According to CDC’s report, citizenship applications are medically evaluated far in advance of adjustment of status. Thus, a negative COVID test at the time of medical examination does not guarantee that the applicant will not have COVID after giving citizenship.
Moreover, according to the CDC, COVID-19 immunization for the general US population has been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). As a result, COVID-19 immunization now meets the requirements for necessary vaccinations and is a necessity for vaccine applicants. Hence, Flu, tetanus, measles, and mumps vaccinations are also required.
Available Vaccines in the U.S.
In the United States, the only vaccines available are Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson&Johnson. Nevertheless, applicants must complete the whole COVID-19 immunization series, consisting of one or two doses depending on the approved shot. However, according to the CDC, the USCIS should accept vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), including AstraZeneca-Oxford, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
In addition, according to the CDC, an official vaccination record or a copy of a medical chart with entries made by a physician or other competent medical professionals are both acceptable proof of immunization paperwork.
COVID-19 Vaccination as a Requirement for U.S. citizenship
The USCIS states that applicants may be granted an exemption for various reasons, including not being eligible for the COVID vaccine owing to age or medical contraindications or if there is a shortage of the vaccine. Hence, according to the USCIS, individuals may also seek individual waivers based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.
The CDC previously advised against getting any other vaccinations for two weeks after getting your COVID immunization out of an excess of caution. However, the CDC subsequently updated its advice, stating that coronavirus immunizations may now be given at any time, regardless of the timing of other vaccinations.
President and CEO of the Immunization Action Coalition, Kelly Moore, stated on The Washington Post that since people have a lot of experience on COVID-19, they are pretty comfortable saying it’s appropriate to give people alongside other vaccines.