WASBOH Website & SM Graphics

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington State Board of Health released a statement today to provide clarification on some points of confusion surrounding the upcoming Jan. 12 public meeting.

While some flyers and e-mails have been sent around claiming the WSBOH will discuss or vote to enforce mandatory quarantine laws in cases of COVID-19, that is not the case. 

While some flyers and e-mails have been sent around claiming the WSBOH will discuss or vote to enforce mandatory quarantine laws in cases of COVID-19, that is not the case. 

Variations of the flyer state the WSBOH will discuss both Chapter 246-105 WAC, legislature regarding immunization of child care and school children against certain vaccine-preventable diseases, and Chapter 246-100 WAC, rules regarding communicable and certain other diseases. That much is true. 

However, these are two separate issues, and neither will have action taken on them at this meeting. 

Chapter 246-105 WAC

Regarding child immunization chapter, the Board will not be voting to require a COVID-19 vaccine for school aged children at this meeting. In their address of concerns, the BOH specifies they will be receiving a briefing on progress from a technical advisory group (TAG), which is convened to consider COVID-19 for inclusion under Chapter 246-105. 

"The purpose of the TAG is to evaluate a vaccine against the established criteria to develop and provide a recommendation," the release explains. "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." 

They gone to specify that in the event they did approve of the vaccine for inclusion in the future, exemption allowances would be available for families, including medical, religious, philosophical or personal exemptions. More information is available on the TAG meeting web page.

Chapter 246-100 WAC

When discussing the second issue, misinformation abounds about forced detainment and quarantine of people with COVID or those who refuse to get tested. However, the Board is not addressing COVID in regards to this Chapter.

The response from the Board explains they will be continuing a Nov. 2021 rules hearing to propose updating its rules to reflect current state law to align with the 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," the Board specifies.

ESHB 1551 specifically addresses changes to existing legislation regarding HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and blood-borne pathogens by modernizing standards of care, testing, and information. You can read more about the Bill on the BOH website.

Attending the Meeting

The meeting on Jan. 12 will be conducted remotely and is open to public viewing. The meeting's agenda will be available on meeting’s web page at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7.

You can participate in the meeting in many ways:

  1. Register online if you have access to the internet and a computer
  2. Dial-in and listen: +1 (253) 215-8782 (not toll-free), Webinar ID: 894-7406-4216, Passcode: 957396
  3. Watch live on TVW

Send your comments to the Board at wsboh@sboh.wa.gov

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