Washington Mandatory Vaccine Rule for Health Care Workers

Effective October 18, 2021, health care workers and staff working in a health care setting must present documentation that they are fully vaccinated or that they are entitled to an exemption.  Acceptable proof that an employee is fully vaccinated is one of the following:

  • CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or photo of the card
  • Documentation of vaccination form health care provider or electronic health record
  • State Immunization Information System record
  • WA State Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination from MyIRmobile.com
  • If vaccinated outside the United States, a reasonable equivalent to any of the above

The COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement (Proclamation 21-14.1) for health care providers, workers and settings general proclamation questions can be found here. Individuals may request a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine. Personal and philosophical exemptions are not allowed under the mandate.

There are sample exemption forms available to Washington State Dental Association members on their website.

https://www.wsda.org/member-center/covid-19

Employees that are requesting a medical exemption must have the form filled out and signed by a medical provider. For the religious exemption, employees will fill It out and include “a statement describing the way in which the vaccination requirement conflicts with the religious observance, practice, or belief of the individual.”

Included in the proclamation questions document is this question regarding exemptions:

Q: Can an unvaccinated health care provider who is exempt the vaccination requirement due to an accommodation still provide direct patient care?

A: It depends. Whether an appropriate reasonable accommodation for an unvaccinated health care provider includes continuing to provide direct patient care will depend on the person’s disability, limitations, duties, and work setting and be determined through an interactive process. Any accommodations provided must, to the extent permitted by law, require the individual to take COVID-19 safety measures that are consistent with DOH recommendations for the setting in which the individual works.

Our recommendation is to speak with an employment attorney before you approve or deny an exemption request or place an individual on leave.  If you do not have an employment attorney you work with, please reach out to our office for a referral.

If any additional guidance is released, we will send an update as soon as possible.

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