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US: Evacuees at Germany's Ramstein Air Base now getting measles, mumps, MMR, chickenpox vaccines

Release comes one day after Just the News reported CDC warned about measles spreading among Afghan refugees

Updated: September 16, 2021 - 3:30pm

U.S. officials said Thursday that evacuees at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany are now getting measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox vaccines while awaiting "onward travel."

The officials did not say from where the evacuees came or where they were going. But the base has been a major hub for Afghanistan evacuees going to the United States.

The release also comes one day after Just the News reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a warning to the chief of Afghan evacuation operations that measles is spreading among refugees and poses a "major public health threat" that includes the potential for "larger imminent outbreaks" in U.S. communities already reeling from the coronavirus. 

The United States’ 86th Airlift Wing public affairs office said the vaccination program is being undertaken at the request of the CDC, following "the discovery of a small number of measles cases among evacuees who had recently arrived in the United States." 

Roughly 15 evacuees were vaccinated Thursday, and Ramstein and Rhine Ordnance barracks will begin mass vaccinations Friday of about  9,000 evacuees at the locations, the officials also said. 

They also said there has been only one confirmed case of measles identified among this evacuee population. The infection was confirmed Thursday, and the patient and family are isolated, amid contact tracing.

Earlier this week, Ramstein Public Health officials took blood samples from 70 randomly  selected evacuees, and 94% had antibodies, indicating the evacuees have either been infected and  recovered from measles in the past or have been vaccinated previously, the officials also said.