2021 Vaccination Card Mandate

Addie Mount, Staff Writer

This county-wide vaccine verification mandate will require the presentation of a vaccine card or a negative FDA-approved molecular (PCR) or antigen (rapid) test when entering certain establishments, such as hotels, outdoor entertainment events with over 500 people, indoor recreational facilities, such as gyms, public pools, fitness clubs, and more.

This mandate was originally put in place by King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin. According to King 5 News, Duchin stated, “King County’s vaccine verification program will help prevent infections, hospitalizations and deaths, safeguard our healthcare system, and provide safer spaces for the public and for workers.” King County is also working on a way to submit complaints about businesses not complying with the mandate and will send an official statement if they receive over five complaints about a specific business or establishment.

King 5 News also states, “University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that the order (mandate) could prevent between roughly 18,000 and 80,000 new infections as well as between 63 and 257 deaths from COVID-19.” Freshman Bleu Carroz comments, “This mandate is very reasonable. I mean, we are in a pandemic. There are going to be precautions other than just standing six feet away.” When asked how he thought this would affect those that are unvaccinated, he states, “This will have a negative effect on the unvaccinated. They will not be able to go to some restaurants, concerts, etc. but, majority of people have a choice whether or not to get the vaccine. It is really their decision, and their decision affects the safety of people around them.” The point of this mandate is for everyone’s safety, and it does negatively impact those who choose to remain unvaccinated, but as Carroz stated, we are in a pandemic and limiting what unvaccinated people are exposed to is a good option. Those I interviewed agreed with this. Sophomore Coline Augier de Cremiers states “I feel like it will be a good thing to put in place, it might lead to more people getting vaccinated.” The other students I interviewed agreed that this mandate might help the unvaccinated choose to get vaccinated to regain the privileges they lost. Augier de Cremiers also comments, “The unvaccinated will want to be able to have access to a normal life again so they will go get vaccinated”

There is so much access to vaccines at this point, appointments can be made at most grocery store pharmacies and many schools are holding clinics for families in light of the recent approval of vaccinations for children ages five to 11. According to King 5 News, “As of Friday (10/19), more than 71% of King County’s total population has completed their vaccination series, according to the health department’s data.” The Seattle area has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, so this mandate does not negatively impact many people.

When asked how she thought this mandate would affect the unvaccinated, senior Melody Doustkam comments, “Not well, it might encourage them to get vaccinated” The majority of those opposed to this mandate are more opposed to the vaccine itself, rather than to the actual mandate. Many of them argue this is ‘forcing them to get vaccinated’ instead of trying to protect the public health.

Those who are unable to get vaccinated due to medical conditions are able to apply for a medical exemption to this mandate. This usually requires a signed note from a doctor or medical professional.