The technical advisory group (TAG) to consider COVID-19 for inclusion in the state’s list of required immunizations for child care and school entry (chapter 246-105 WAC) held its second business meeting Thursday, Feb. 17 and considered (3) criteria from the Board’s Immunization Criteria document. TAG members discussed and voted on criteria #1, criteria #2, and criteria #4 at the meeting.
Criteria 1 is under the category of vaccine effectiveness. Members considered if the vaccine containing the antigen is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and included on its Recommended Childhood & Adolescent Immunization Schedule. The TAG voted that the criterion was met. Some members expressed uncertainty but the recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) is clear.
Criteria 2 is under the category of vaccine effectiveness. Members considered if the vaccine containing the antigen is effective as measured by immunogenicity and population-based prevention data in Washington State, as available. The TAG voted that the criterion was met. Some members expressed the evidence was compelling and the vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease and death.
Criteria 4 is under the category of vaccine effectiveness. Members considered if the experience to date with the vaccine containing this antigen demonstrates that it is safe and has an acceptable level of side effects. The TAG voted that the criterion was met. Some members expressed uncertainty that the criterion would be met depending on the level of transmission, but generally that the side-effects are rare.
Background and Summary
The Board has convened a technical advisory group (TAG) in coordination with the state Department of Health (DOH) to develop recommendations for the Board to use when considering whether to add COVID-19 vaccine to the rules setting immunization documentation requirements required for school and child care entry.
The Board and DOH held a TAG orientation meeting on Dec. 29, 2021. The Board received a briefing on the Board’s immunization criteria and process used to consider additions to chapter 246-105 WAC at the Oct. 2021 Board meeting. After discussion, Board members voted to direct staff to begin the process of convening a TAG, in coordination with the state Department of Health to assess the COVID-19 vaccine against the nine criteria and develop a recommendation for the Board.
The Board has authority under RCW 28A.210.140 to adopt rules establishing the procedural and substantive requirements for full immunization. Chapter 246-105 WAC governs the immunization of children in school and childcare against certain vaccine preventable diseases.
The TAG will consider other criteria in the Board's Immunization Criteria Document at its next meeting. The TAG will host its last meeting on Thursday, Feb. 24 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. At the conclusion, TAG members will make a recommendation whether to add the vaccine to the state’s list of required immunizations for school entry.
The Board, at their discretion, may or may not approve the TAG’s recommendation. If the Board were to vote at a future meeting to move forward, then the Board would initiate rulemaking to consider adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required childhood immunizations for school and day care entry.
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.
- Feb. 24 TAG Meeting web page
- Feb. 17 TAG Meeting web page
- Feb. 10 TAG Meeting web page
- TAG FAQ
- Additional resources are available on our website.
- Meeting information is available on the Board’s Meetings web page.