Washington health board opts not to require COVID-19 vaccines for K-12 students
The Washington State Board of Health has unanimously voted not to add a COVID-19 vaccine to a list of required K-12 vaccines, per a technical advisory group’s recommendation.
However, the group “strongly endorses the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine for children,” as Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, chief science officer with the Department of Health, said Wednesday.
Ultimately, the group concluded that the COVID-19 vaccine failed to meet sufficient criteria such that it would be required for K-12 students. Criteria ranged from an evaluation of the vaccine’s safety to societal cost analysis.
“Though the technical advisory group (TAG) does not recommend including COVID-19 in the list of those required for school entry today, as we’ve mentioned earlier, as science and data change in the future, it may become necessary to assess whether this recommendation must also change. It’s really important for us to continue close surveillance of COVID-19 and be open to this possibility,” Sheng Kwan-Gett continued.
Were the COVID-19 vaccine added to the list of required vaccines for K-12 students, it would join 11 others, including vaccines against Chickenpox, Measles, Polio, and Tetanus.
As of April 6, 38% of children in Washington state between the ages of five and 17 are “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, a figure which does not account for supplemental booster shots, according to Washington state’s health department. The Center for Disease Control does not recommend that children under the age of 12 get a booster shot.