WA Board of Health debunks rumors

By on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

OLYMPIA – A virtual public meeting today (Wednesday) by the Washington State Board of Health has generated some misinformation. Some reports on social media mentioned a state law on today’s meeting agenda as including the COVID-19 vaccinations as part of school immunization requirements and allowing local health officers to use law enforcement to force an emergency order to involuntarily detain a person or families to be isolated in a quarantine facility following refusal to voluntarily comply with requests for medical examination, testing, treatment, counseling, and vaccination.

The Washington State Board of Health said it is not voting to require a COVID-19 vaccine for school-aged children at today’s meeting. The board will receive a briefing on the progress of the technical advisory group, whose purpose is to evaluate a vaccine against established criteria to develop and provide a recommendation. The board will not act on this agenda item at today’s meeting. The recommendation will be presented to the board at a future regularly scheduled meeting for consideration. The board may or may not approve the recommendation. If it is approved at a future date, 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. The exemptions include medical, religious, philosophical, or personal exemptions.

The Washington State Board of Health is also not voting to change isolation or quarantine policies at today’s meeting but is continuing a hearing on proposed rule changes to communicable and certain other diseases rules that outline requirements for the prevention and control of infectious and noninfectious diseases.

In 2020, the Washington Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1551, which modernizes the state’s control of communicable disease laws by ending statutory HIV/AIDS exceptionalism, reducing HIV-related stigma, defelonizing HIV exposure, and removing barriers to HIV testing. The new law took effect June 11, 2020.

In March 2021, the board adopted amendments and in November 2021 voted to continue the hearing on amendments which included minor editorial revisions consistent with the changes in ESHB 1551. This is a continuation of that hearing. Today’s meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., can be viewed live on TVW or via Zoom. The meeting ID is 894 7406 4216.