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Getting your Green Card?: New vaccination requirements for refugees and immigrants


Wednesday, October 1, 2008
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As of July 1, 2008, there are several new vaccination requirements for refugees and immigrants who are getting their Green Cards (Adjusting their Status).  These requirements come from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The new requirements say that all refugees and immigrants must show that they have received all the shots (vaccines) recommended for persons according to their age. This means women girls and women up to age 26 must have the HPV shot.  People over the age of 60 must have the zoster shot if they have never had a shot against Chickenpox, etc.

Most refugees have health insurance for their first 8 months in the U.S. so it is important to get all your shots when you first arrive and have health insurance. These shots can be very expensive, and without insurance one has to pay for the full price of each shot. For people who do not have health insurance it may be possible to get a lower price at the county health department or through the Merck Patient Assistance Program.

While clinics and doctors who perform the Green Card exam are aware of these changes, it is important for all refugees and immigrants to be aware of these changes as well.

Refugees and immigrants will need documents showing that they have received measles, mumps, rubella-MMR, polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, as well as some of the shots listed below (depending upon your age).

Vaccine Type

Age

Rotavirus

6
through 32 weeks of age

Hepatitis
A

12
through 23 months of age

Hepatitis
B

0
(birth) through 18 year of age

Meningococcal

11
through 18 year of age

Human
Papilloma virus (HPV)

11
through 26 years of age- GIRLS

Zoster
(shingles)

60
years of age or older

Influenza
(flu)

6
through 59 months of age (annually)

Pertussis

10
years of age or older

List of additional vaccine requirements for refugees and immigrants applying for a green card – effective July 1, 2008

For more information about the changes in vaccination requirements for refugees and immigrants go to page 1 of the 2008 Technical Instructions to Civil Surgeons for Vaccination Requirements here.

Regarding this article call Sue Dicker, Refugee Nurse Consultant at the Minnesota Department of Health’s Refugee Health Program at 651-201-5510.

This article was contributed as part of an ongoing series of health articles to educate refugee communities in Minnesota. Special thanks to Susan Dicker and Ann O’Fallon from the Department of Health’s Refugee Health Program for writing this article.

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