Any COVID-19 vaccination requirements for our hosted participants would come from the federal, state or local governments, not from AFS.
Further, AFS does not require host families or volunteers to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The decision and ability of AFS to mandate vaccinations implicate operational and legal challenges which pose significant burdens and risks that AFS-USA is not equipped to handle and to take on.
We do strongly encourage participants and their parent(s)/guardian(s) to follow CDC recommendations, and participants must meet the school vaccines requirements. However, we defer to the recommendations of the participant’s physician, in consultation with the parent(s)/guardian(s), for any medical related decisions.
It is possible that travel and/or visa requirements may include the vaccine in the future.
What if the host school requires the AFS Participant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
AFS participants have been advised, prior to program, that school related immunization requirements must be met as part of their participation in an AFS program.
If a school requires the COVID-19 vaccine or any other immunization and the AFS participant does not have a medical or other reason to not receive the vaccine(s), the AFS participant will need to comply with this requirement or risk not being able to begin or complete their program.
What if the AFS participant has questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or the host family has questions about the AFS participant being eligible/receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
If the AFS participant has questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, encourage them to discuss this topic with their host family and sending parent(s)/legal guardian(s). If the AFS participant would like additional resources share the CDC Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines with them.
If the host family has questions about the AFS participant eligibility/parental permission to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or any other immunization(s), encourage the host family to speak with their primary care physician regarding eligibility.
If the host family requests for the AFS participant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, and is not comfortable approaching this topic with them or their parent(s)/guardian(s), please reach out to your Regional Field Specialist if it is prior to the student’s arrival. If the student is already on program in the U.S. please reach out to your Participant Support Specialist for guidance.