King County Policy
Original document can be download or viewed here
REVISED LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER VERIFICATION OF VACCINATION ORDER
Whereas state law, RCW 70.05.070(2) - (3), requires and empowers the Local Health Officer to take such action as is necessary to maintain health and to control and prevent the spread of any contagious or infectious diseases within the jurisdiction, and;
Whereas state regulation, WAC 246-100-036, requires the Local Health Officer, when necessary, to institute disease control measures as he, she, or they deem necessary based on his, her, or their professional judgment, current standards of practice, and the best available medical and scientific information;
Whereas SARS-CoV-2 spreads from person to person primarily through inhalation of air carrying very small droplets and aerosol particles that contain infectious virus, and;
Whereas the risk of transmission is greatest within three to six feet of an infectious source, but can also occur more than six feet away, and;
Whereas COVID-19 infections can be spread from persons who are symptom-free and before symptoms appear, and;
Whereas in King County SARS-CoV-2 transmission is increasing largely due the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the discontinuation of the Heathy Washington Roadmap to Recovery community level CoV-19 restrictions, and a corresponding increase in activities and opportunities for SARS-CoV-2 transmission from person to person;
Whereas the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes CoV-19 infection is significantly more contagious than previous SARS-CoV-2 viruses and has been associated with a greater risk for hospitalization;
Whereas fully-vaccinated people have a very high level of protection against serious illness due to CoV-19, and are at lower risk for transmitting the infection to others;
Whereas currently some 68% of King County residents are fully vaccinated against CoV-19. However, approximately 720,000 King County residents are not fully-vaccinated, including some 2 290,000 people who are eligible for vaccination, 120,000 residents who have started but not yet completed their vaccination series, approximately 308,000 children less than 12 years of age who are not currently eligible, and tens of thousands of persons with underlying immunocompromise. All these groups are at increased risk for CoV-19 due to the Delta variant compared with previously circulating SARS-COV-2 lineages;
Whereas in King County CoV-19 vaccine completion rates vary by age, race, ethnicity, and geography. The completion rate is significantly lower in younger age groups (66% in 12-19 years old, 65% in 20-29 years old; 74% in 30-39 years old populations);
Whereas the risk of being exposed is higher for everyone – vaccinated and unvaccinated – and more infections will occur, primarily among unvaccinated people, when CoV-19 spreads at a high rate primarily among the unvaccinated, and;
Whereas reducing the number of infected adults in the community will also decrease the risk for children not yet eligible for vaccination;
Whereas the risk of CoV-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths is greatest among unvaccinated persons, and vaccination affords excellent protection against serious CoV-19 infections. In the last 30 days in King County, unvaccinated individuals were 41 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 42 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals;
Whereas our regional healthcare system is experiencing serious challenges managing the patient loads from increased hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions related to the current Delta surge. Local hospitals are seeing more COVID-19 patients now than at any other time during the pandemic;
Whereas there is concern that COVID-19 transmission, hospitalization and deaths will increase during the fall and winter months of 2021;
Whereas reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community through multiple strategies will result in reduced cases, hospitalizations, and deaths;
Whereas when unvaccinated people gather indoors, they are particularly at risk both of getting CoV19 themselves as well as spreading it to others. The risk of exposure is especially higher in crowded indoor spaces with unvaccinated people, poor ventilation, and activities that can increase the amount of virus in the air such as singing, shouting and aerobic exercise, or when removing masks for prolonged periods of time to eat or drink;
Whereas the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that a vaccine verification system would prevent a substantial number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in King County over the next 6 months;
Based upon all the above, as the Local Health Officer, I hereby find that at this time, the verification of vaccination upon entry for individuals attending social, recreational, entertainment events and establishments, is reasonable and necessary in King County to reduce the risk for CoV-19 transmission.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, as Local Health Officer I hereby ORDER as follows:
VERIFICATION OF VACCINATION ORDER
For all patrons and customers 12-years of age and older, verification that they are fully vaccinated is required at the following public events and establishments:
Outdoor recreational and entertainment events with 500 or more people, such as collegiate sports, professional sports, and concerts. Effective Date: October 25, 2021
Indoor restaurants, bars, and taverns with seating capacity of 12 and more, AND indoor entertainment and recreational establishments, such as gyms, fitness facilities, public pools, entertainment and performing arts venues, night clubs, music and concert venues, movie theaters, museums, collegiate and professional sports stadiums and arenas, exhibition halls, and convention centers. Effective Date: October 25, 2021
Indoor restaurants, bars, and taverns with seating capacity of less than 12. Effective Date: December 6, 2021
For purposes of this ORDER, “fully vaccinated” means that a person has received all the required doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine (two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) or a WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series, and 14 days have passed since the final dose.
Verification of vaccination may be established by any of the following methods of documentation:
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Record Card, or photo of CDC Vaccine Record Card
QR Code, digital or printed certificate from MyIRMobile -- https://myirmobile.com -- a WA Department of Health partner website for immunization records
Vaccine administration record from a vaccine provider, including an individual’s doctor, pharmacy, or other official immunization record from within or outside the U.S., including a photo or photocopy
Any other digital vaccine card specified by Public Health – Seattle & King County as sufficient to demonstrate proof of vaccination status
Additional identification, such as a driver’s license or ID, is not required.
As an alternative to providing vaccine verification, prior to entry individuals must provide digital or printed documentation from a testing agent, including a laboratory, health care provider, or pharmacy of a negative FDA-approved molecular (e.g., PCR) test or an FDA-approved antigen (e.g., rapid) test administered within the previous 72 hours. Antigen tests that are self-administered will not be accepted.
A negative FDA-approved PCR test administered within the previous 72 hours, or
A negative FDA-approved rapid test administered by a testing provider on site at the event site
Medical and religious vaccine exemptions are not accepted in place of vaccine verification or documentation of a negative COVID test.
This ORDER does not apply to:
Patrons and other individuals entering an establishment for a quick and limited purpose – for example to make a delivery, to pick up take-out from a restaurant, tavern, or bar, or to use a restroom
Children under 12-years of age
Any pre-school through grade 12 school-based event of any kind, and both participants and spectators.
Airports, train stations or other transportation hubs.
Indoor dining in other buildings that primarily serve non-dining purposes such as mall food courts, and school or employee cafeterias
Weddings, except those occurring in any of the above public indoor establishments. However, proof of vaccination or documentation of a negative CoV-19 test is strongly recommended.
Faith-based gatherings, except those occurring in any of the above public indoor establishments. However, proof of vaccination or documentation of a negative CoV-19 test is strongly recommended.
Vote centers sanctioned by King County Elections at any location.
As the Local Health Officer, I strongly recommend that employers and event organizers require vaccination for the workers and volunteers at the events and establishments covered by this ORDER. Guidance and resources are available from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries, Washington State Coronavirus Response, and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and available here:
Discrimination will not be tolerated in the implementation of this ORDER.
Employers, their employees, and volunteers, must implement this ORDER equitably and may not:
Scrutinize proof of vaccination more closely based on an individual’s race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or
Refuse to accept valid proof of vaccination that is authorized by this ORDER, such as WHO approved vaccination from countries outside of the U.S. or photographs of CDC vaccination cards.
Employers, employees, and volunteers should provide reasonable accommodation for those with disabilities who attest to having completed their vaccination series but are unable to provide proof of vaccination due to a disability.
King County government and Public Health – Seattle & King County are dedicated to providing all residents and visitors with fair and equal access to services, opportunities, and protection, and reflecting consideration for cultural differences and disabilities
As the Local Health Officer, I strongly recommend and urge all people and businesses in King County to voluntarily comply with this ORDER and its anti-discrimination requirements.
This ORDER will remain in effect for 6-months, until March 16, 2022, and reevaluated at that time, or sooner based on the status and impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak in King County.
Signed and ordered the 16th day of September, and revised this 4th of October 2021 in Seattle, Washington, by