ADULT Vaccine Law in WA State

FAST FACTS

  • Until 2019, there were no state vaccination requirements for adults. Some private employers and institutions of higher learning set vaccination requirements for employees and/or students. They also set their own exemption terms; they are supposed to comply with state and federal protections regarding religion and disabilities.
  • 2019: CHILD CARE WORKERS. A new law was enacted requiring proof of Measles, Mumps, Rubella immunity or vaccination with the MMR vaccine. for workers and volunteers at certain child day care centers and outdoor nature-based child care providers. See details below.
  • 2022: Governor Inslee is in the process of coercing state agencies to permanently mandate COVID-19 shots for state employees. See details below.

WA STATE LAW

The Legislature Passes Bills that become Law under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Here are the RCW’s pertaining to current adult RCW’s.

HTMLPDF43.216.690Child day care centers and outdoor nature-based child care providers—Immunization.

Find more information about this law HERE.

The legislature failed to include explicit language to provide religious exemptions to child care workers and volunteers. The Department of Health is claiming no exemptions are allowed, however, this remains to be challenged in the courts. When a state law is silent on a legal point, federal law prevails, and federal law forbids religious discrimination (therefore religious exemptions must be provided.)

The WA Department of Children, Youth & Families states:

Can a staff person or volunteer turn in an exemption to the requirement? Staff and volunteers may not be exempted from the requirement to provide documentation of immunity for personal and religious reasons. Only written certification signed by a health care practitioner, licensed in Washington State—medical doctor (MD), naturopathic doctor (ND), osteopathic doctor (DO), advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) or a physician’s assistant (PA)—that the MMR vaccine is, in the practitioner’s judgment, not advisable for the person can be used instead of the documentation of immunity requirement.”

https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/news/house-bill-1638-removes-mmr-vaccine-exemption-schools-child-care-centers

WA State Employee COVID-19 Shot Mandates via AGENCY RULES

Once the legislature passes a law (RCW), authorized agencies write rules to implement the law. These rules are called the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). Agencies are not allowed to write new laws, they can only write rules that implement the law. Once WACs are adopted, they have the force of the law upon which they are authorized.

  • Relevant WACs coming soon

Adopted but not yet effective and subject to challenges: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement in State Agencies for State Workers via Rulemaking (non-union employees) and Bargaining (union employees)

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