Students will not be required to get COVID-19 vaccines prior to entering schools, as of now.
In a statement from the Washington State Department of Health, he says that on Wednesday the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) voted not to include COVID-19 in the state’s immunization requirements for school entry at this time.
According to SBOH, a technical advisory group (TAG) was convened 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.
TAG members discussed and voted on a final recommendation for the Board at its Feb. 24 virtual meeting. TAG members voted to not recommend adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the state’s list of required immunizations for school entry. The votes were 6 yes, 7 no, and 4 unsure.
They say that some members expressed doubt about making a recommendation to the Board and stated concerns about unintended consequences of doing so.
Members stated concerns about a lack of good data and not being comfortable with children possibly losing time away from school.
Those in favor of the vaccinations were said to have spoke about the opportunity to help eradicate the virus, and other members stated that the vaccine ought to be added once it is fully licensed by the FDA and other members expressed that the vaccine should be added to the school entry list in the future.
In the statement, it said that DOH supports the recommendation of the advisory group and thanked them for their work over the past several months regarding the decision.
It was noted that during the discussion both DOH and SBOH continue their support of COVID-19 vaccines as being safe and effective, and they say the best way to protect community members against COVID-19.
Despite their support of effectiveness, students are not expected to be required to have the vaccination added to other vaccine requirements prior to attending school.
DOH continues to remind community members to “help protect our schools, educators, and students by urging everyone to continue to do their part by getting vaccinated and boosted, if eligible. DOH reminds people to wear a mask if needed, stay home and get tested if they feel sick, and follow isolation recommendations if they test positive”.
Board members received a briefing, listened to a presentation by Board staff and state Department of Health staff, and held a discussion before issuing their decision.
All materials are available on the meeting webpage.
A summary of Board member discussion will be available on the draft April meeting minutes, which will be posted to the Board’s website by June 1, 2022.
You may also watch the Board briefing, discussion, and decision on TVW.