There has been a lot of interest in the Washington State Board of Health’s virtual public meeting on Jan. 12. Our staff is busy preparing meeting materials and public comments. Due to the large volume of questions we are receiving from interested folks, we want to clarify some misinformation that has circulated online regarding two topics on the agenda.
The Washington State Board of Health (Board) is not voting to require a COVID-19 vaccine for school-aged children at its meeting on Jan. 12. The Board will receive a briefing on the progress of the technical advisory group (TAG), which is convened to consider COVID-19 for inclusion in chapter 246-105 WAC, at next week’s meeting (agenda item 8). The Board will not take action on this agenda item at the meeting. The purpose of the TAG is to evaluate a vaccine against the established criteria to develop and provide a recommendation. The recommendation is then presented to the Board at a future regularly scheduled meeting for consideration. The Board, at their discretion, may or may not approve the TAG’s recommendation. The exemption allowances currently listed in the state’s immunizations law would be available for families and their children who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. These exemptions include medical, religious, philosophical or personal exemptions. More information is available on the TAG meeting web page.
The Board is not voting to change isolation or quarantine policies at its meeting on Jan. 12. The Board is continuing a November 2021 rules hearing on the proposed rule changes to chapter 246-100 WAC, Communicable and Certain Other Diseases, as published in WSR 21-20-127 at the meeting. The Board is proposing updating its rules to reflect current state law to align with Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1551. Agenda item 9, while related to rulemaking on chapter 246-100 WAC, is scoped only to the implementation of ESHB 1551 (Chapter 76, Laws of 2020) and does not include changes to isolation and quarantine policies nor does it suggest law enforcement be used to enforce any vaccination requirements. More information is available on the Communicable and Certain Other Diseases rule web page.
All Jan. 12 meeting information, that includes detailed descriptions of these agenda items, will be available Friday, Jan. 7 on the meeting’s web page by 5:00 p.m. You can participate in the meeting in many ways:
- Register online if you have access to the internet and a computer
- Dial-in and listen
- +1 (253) 215-8782 (not toll-free), Webinar ID: 894-7406-4216, Passcode: 957396
- Watch live on TVW
Send your comments to the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org