Vaccination against the seven childhood diseases — Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, and Polio — as well as Hepatitis A and B and Meningitis, is required by all states for entrance into school. Additionally, many states require vaccination against Chicken Pox and TB testing. You can check your state’s requirements at the following website:
If your AFS Participant appears to be missing any immunizations required by their host school, please contact them or their sending parent(s)/legal guardian(s) before arrival to ensure that these immunizations are scheduled to be received in the home country prior to arrival to the U.S. In some cases, if the participant has not started a vaccination series, a host school may require the first of a series of doses to be administered in the home country and the remaining doses of the series to be completed (after the manufacturer-recommended waiting period) in the U.S. AFS Participants whose health certificate does not include all of the immunizations required for admission to the program have been advised to obtain the missing immunization(s) before arrival to the U.S. (where possible) and bring with them a Health Form Addendum with the missing information (the Health Form Addendum is also requested to be uploaded to the participant application by the Sending Partner in case it is lost in transit by the participant). When your participant arrives, please check this document and the health certificate to make sure they meet the requirements for school admittance. Any missing immunizations should be administered by your local physician or local county Health Department (which may offer these free of charge).
Sending parents/legal guardians are responsible for payment of any expenses related to obtaining immunizations or TB tests. Your hosted participant should call their sending parents/legal guardians to let them know if they will require any immunizations in the U.S. We also ask that you call your AFS Liaison or AFS Participant Support Staff to let them know about these expenses so that they can alert AFS Staff in your participant’s home country and assist AFS in ensuring payment from the sending parents/legal guardians. Participants are requested to bring a method of payment in case these types of costs are incurred during program.
Note: For FLEX and YES students, some required immunizations are not available in their home countries or they may otherwise be prevented from getting their full course of immunizations prior to arrival. Their respective scholarships are prepared to reimburse for any immunizations that the host school requires but which they may arrive without having had. Please contact your AFS Liaison or AFS Participant Support Staff in case further immunizations are necessary and they will help to coordinate reimbursement.
AFS Participants and the COVID-19 Vaccine
If an AFS-USA hosted student does not arrive in their host community already vaccinated against COVID-19, they may wish to receive the vaccine while they are on program and/or a booster. AFS volunteers and host families may facilitate and assist students in obtaining the vaccine if the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s) agree and are comfortable with proceeding. Before your student obtains the COVID-19 vaccine, please read the following carefully, and follow each step:
- Make sure your student speaks to their parent(s)/guardian(s): Before scheduling an appointment for the student, confirm whether the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s) would like for them to obtain the vaccine while on program. If you have any questions or concerns about speaking to your student and their parent(s)/guardian(s) about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your liaison or your team’s Support leadership.
- Book the appointment at a local vaccine facility: If a student’s vaccine facility has their own permission forms that need to be signed by a “legal guardian” for the vaccine, students under 18 years old must have these forms signed by a parent/guardian, not a host parent. We therefore recommend requesting any facility-specific consent forms in advance at the time of booking, in order to allow the parent/guardian sufficient time to review and sign the form. Many providers accept electronic signatures, therefore obtaining parent/guardian consent in many cases can be obtained via electronic means (i.e. email links).
- At the appointment Encourage your student to present any additional information required (such as passport, visa, consent form from the parent/guardian, etc.)
- Copy and send the vaccine card to your student’s parent(s)/guardian(s): When the student has completed their vaccine, we recommend the student take a picture or a scanned copy of their completed vaccination card and send that copy to their parent(s)/guardian(s).
The student should be advised to keep their original completed vaccination card in a safe place and remember to bring the original card back home with them at the end of their program.
While AFS cannot require students to obtain vaccines, we understand that U.S. American schools may begin requiring their students to be vaccinated as a condition of school enrollment. If this occurs in your school district, AFS will defer to the school’s policies, and we recommend following steps 1-4 in this document. If you, your student, or your student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) have any questions or concerns, please talk to your AFS Liaison or your team’s Support leadership.
While most USA vaccine sites do not currently charge for the vaccine, please remember that the AFS-provided Medical Plan does not cover the cost of vaccines*.
*For YES and FLEX participants, the cost of vaccines/boosters are covered by program funds.