New US Immigrants Will Need COVID-19 Vaccination Proof A young woman receives a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 in Mexico City. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 15 September 2021 08:49 AM
New U.S. immigrants will need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus as part of the routine medical examination, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday.
Most people applying to become a permanent U.S. resident are required to receive a medical examination "to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds," USCIS said, according to The Washington Post.
Vaccinations for permanent resident applicants already mandatory include measles, polio, influenza, and tetanus.
"Attention Green Card Applicants: Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, all applicants must complete the COVID-19 vaccine shot or series & provide proof of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination. Learn more: https://uscis.gov/news/alerts/covid-19-vaccination-required-for-immigration-medical-examinations,” the USCIS tweeted Tuesday morning.
President Joe Biden last week unveiled a sweeping set of vaccination mandates that require federal employees to get immunized against COVID-19, and companies with more than 100 employees must require vaccinations or conduct weekly testing.
USCIS said its new requirement followed updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Exceptions will be allowed for medical conditions, if there is a lack of vaccine supply, or if the vaccine is "not age-appropriate" for the immigration applicant. Exemptions for religious or "moral convictions" could be requested on a case-by-case basis.
The delta virus in recent months has caused a surge in COVID infections as the Biden administration has struggled to increase vaccinations.
Just 54 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to data tracked by the Post. More than 63 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine
The U.S. COVID death toll stood at more than 650,000, with one major forecast model projecting it will top 750,000 by Dec. 1.
"It felt like we had this forward, positive momentum," said Katie Button, executive chief and CEO at two restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina. "The delta variant wiped that timeline completely away."