Why, after 8 years, do my vaccinations suddenly matter?

As anyone who has jumped through the migration hoops to get a US Green Card there are many parts of the process that don’t actually hold up to inspection by the Socratic method. Or for that matter any other measure of common sense.

The one that baffles me today (while I wait for the totally opaque PERM process to complete) is vaccination.

I’ve been in the US now for over 8 years. In fact if you count my previous visits here over the course of my career I’ve probably racked up a decade on America soil in one form or another. So if I’ve got anything contagious I’ve probably already shared it around. If not with the folks I’ve worked with the last few years, then in hotels, on planes or at convention centers. And on previous visits when I was single I may well have, um, discovered the girls from North Carolina (and the neighboring States) are indeed pretty fine.

For some reason one of the up-coming joys we have to look forward to is a visit with a Civil Surgeon (hard to book because they’re not exactly common, expensive and not covered by healthcare because it’s … well, is anything covered by healthcare?!) who has to sign you as fit to migrate to the US. And in order to do that you have to have had certain vaccinations.

Now I don’t have any particularly strong objections to the idea of vaccinations when they make sense but … I’m not exactly a teenager these days and most of my vaccinations happened when I was a kid – MMR, Polio and the like were all things that happened at school. Two countries and well over 20 years ago. My Doctor is long retired (actually, he’s deceased) and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to find the paperwork anyway though I have asked my Mum, and the UK Department of Public Health if they have records (I’m not that hopeful – this predates punched cards and possibly electricity!).

The question though is … why does it really matter at this point? Is there any real value to (yet another) bureaucratic hurdle or is this just a misguided left-over from the days when this wasn’t a multi-year, politically charged process. If I have any of these diseases it’s too late. But closing the stable door after the horse has bolted simply to conform to established process has long been a symptom of organizations that don’t have any real clear sense of purpose or a desire to do anything but pave the cow-paths while they collect their paycheck. I don’t blame the folks on the front line but I am starting to question the folks who make the rules, especially as it looks like Congress is heading for yet more deadlock on Immigration reform. Ah, politics.

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