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Washington Board of Health seeking parental input on potential vaccine mandate for students

The board is asking for parents and staff to submit feedback regarding a potential new vaccine requirement before the Jan. 7 board meeting.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) is asking for parents' input about adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines required for children to join a public school.

State law requires children and teenagers aged 18 years or younger to provide documentation of immunization status when joining any public school. Those vaccines listed in the WAC 246-105 chapter include MMR, chickenpox, Polio, tetanus, and others.

After the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for children ages 5-11, SBOH is considering including the COVID-19 vaccine on its list of required immunizations. This means all children in Washington will have to prove they have the COVID-19 vaccine before joining any school.

SBOH is asking for parents and staff to submit feedback regarding this potential new vaccine requirement. All feedback submitted will be included during the next SBOH meeting planned for Friday, Jan. 7 at noon, and it can be submitted online, by email or mail to the Washington State Board of Health
P.O. Box 47990, Olympia, WA 98507-7990.

People can access the meeting via Zoom here or by dialing from their phone to 1 (253) 215-8782.  

Mead School Board Director Michael Cannon said in a Facebook post on his personal Facebook page that he submitted his public comment regarding the vaccine to the Board of Health. 

"A Covid-19 vaccine mandate clearly does not pass the 9 criteria required when Reviewing Antigens for Potential Inclusion in WAC 246-105-030," Cannon said. "I am not taking issue with the vaccine itself, and in fact continue to encourage vaccination in my community."  

Cannon also stated that the lack of support for the vaccine mandate doesn't follow the Criteria for Reviewing Antigens for Potential Inclusion in WAC 246-105-030.

According to data from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), less than 20% of children ages 5 -11 are fully vaccinated.