MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy are being offered free COVID-19 vaccines — one of many precautions being taken at the military base to prevent the spread of the virus.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said all Afghans and U.S. residents coming from Afghanistan are tested for COVID when they first arrive to the U.S. and have the option to get a COVID-19 vaccine either at the airport or at Department of Defense facilities.
Fort McCoy is one of eight U.S. military bases that’s temporarily housing Afghans who have fled their country after the recent collapse of the government to the Taliban. The base can host up to 13,000; as of Friday, 8,780 refugees had arrived.
The Department of Defense shared photos of refugees receiving shots of the vaccine at Fort McCoy, which is 40 miles (64.37 kilometers) east of La Crosse and the Mississippi River. Fort McCoy has not yet allowed the media to enter the military base.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that after the refugees arrive, they go through a medical screening and also can receive other free medical services. Staff will also help them apply for immigration status and work authorization, and connect them to relocation services.