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Afghan refugees offered COVID vaccine before coming to Colorado, DHS says

The State Department has implemented a humanitarian waiver of COVID testing to get evacuees onto planes.

DENVER — Refugees from Afghanistan are coming to Colorado and other states across the country. This week, Gov. Jared Polis (D) even sent a letter to President Joe Biden to inform him that “Colorado stands ready to provide safety and opportunity” to these refugees.

The process of getting from Afghanistan to Colorado would typically include multiple health screenings. According to the Colorado Dept. of Humans Services (CDHS), the U.S. State Department works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the public health aspect of welcoming refugees.

“In general, all refugees must undergo medical screening, including COVID testing, before embarking for the United States, and all attempts are made to ensure the delivery of presumptive treatment, including vaccinations, prior to departure,” a CDHS spokesperson told 9NEWS.

That was the protocol before the Taliban took control of Kabul. The State Department has now issued a “blanket humanitarian waiver” for COVID testing for all people being relocated from Afghanistan.

Once those refugees arrive in Colorado, CDHS and the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment will connect them with a health screening, which is done at local community health center.

The United States is currently trying to evacuate as many as 2,000 people a day from Afghanistan, according to USA Today.

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports 72% of American adults have chosen to start the COVID-19 vaccination process as of this week.

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