Immigrant Visa Vaccination Requirements Tightened

BALTIMORE -- New vaccine requirements will affect anyone who is applying for an immigrant visa for entry into the U.S. and anyone seeking adjustment of status for permanent residence. Applicants must show proof of vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases, as recommended by the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Passport Health, a company that specializes in travel medicine and vaccinations, announced today that all 165 of it offices throughout the U.S. are fully stocked with all vaccines required for immigration and naturalization.

Current vaccine requirement includes: influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis A and B, TDaP, polio, varicella, and MMR. Zoster (shingles) vaccine for anyone over age 60 and HPV/cervical cancer vaccine for women 11-26 are new requirements.

Since 9/11, enforcement of immigration laws has tightened. "After 9/11, there were dramatic changes in immigration law and its enforcement," said Sheela Murthy, president of Murthy Law Firm, an immigration law practice. "It is good that our country is protecting its residents against diseases that can be brought from foreign countries or that can easily spread through our population."

As an immigrant herself, Murthy has seen how the Internet has revolutionized the way her clients search for information regarding legal requirements, including where to get the vaccines they need. "When I had to get my vaccinations you went blindfolded and there weren't many choices."

This is where Passport Health comes in. The company makes sorting through immunization requirements for immigration or international travel easy. Trained nurses and doctors also offer destination-specific travel health information and immunizations for international travelers. Founder and CEO Fran Lessans said local physicians refer patients to Passport Health because of special equipment needed to keep some vaccines frozen and properly monitored.

"We have always been vaccine specialists and have the necessary documents and stamps needed to verify immunizations," added Lessans. "A physical examination is usually required for immigration status adjustment, and the client must prove that his/her vaccines are up to date."

"We have the vaccines in our offices," continued Lessans, "after we vaccinate our clients, we send their doctor a record of the immunizations and provide each with the appropriate documentation needed to comply with immigration and naturalization requirements."

Source: Passport Health

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