KC Executive and Seattle Mayor Announce Vaccine Policy, Mosques Exempted

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The King County Executive, Dow Constantine, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced today a Vaccine Verification Policy which will take into effect on October. The County is introducing the vaccine verification requirements to non-essential indoor business activities and other venues.

The officials spoke about the details of the policy before the local media including Runta News which asked Executive Dow Constantine if the plan affects mosques especially Friday Prayers. The County Executive and Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County Local Health Officer told reporters that religious gatherings are exempted from these mandates.  

In the face of a Delta-driven surge, high levels of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and increasing deaths, several jurisdictions have already adopted some form of vaccine verification policy, including New York City, San Francisco and British Columbia in Canada, and by Clallam and Jefferson counties in Washington State.

The County consulted the policy with community organizations, labor unions, businesses, and cities to gather feedback. The County is considering non-essential indoor and outdoor spaces where people gather in close proximity for a prolonged period of time. After finalizing the vaccination verification policy, unvaccinated residents would have at least five weeks to complete their vaccination series before the requirements of the proposed policy go into effect, likely in October.

With unvaccinated patients filling up hospitals and readily accessible, safe, and effective vaccines, the policy will ensure businesses can protect workers and customers alike. More than 84% of eligible King County residents have begun their vaccinations against COVID-19, including more than 70% of every eligible age group and all racial groups tracked by Public Health.

“We’re at a critical point in the pandemic. In a County where more than 4 out of 5 eligible residents have taken advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID, vaccine verification is the best way for businesses and gatherings to remain open, vibrant, and at full capacity,” said Executive Constantine. “My staff and Public Health officials are continuing to gather feedback and listen to community and business groups in a county-wide effort to keep our recovery going, keep people safe, and end this pandemic.”

“We are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations caused by the highly infectious Delta variant that is causing serious stress on our regional healthcare system,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County’s Health Officer. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective, and readily available, and verifying vaccination in certain non-essential, high-risk settings can make those places safer for the public, workers, and our community, including children who are not currently eligible for vaccination.”

King County and Public Health are building the vaccine verification policy in consultation with PHSKC’s Pandemic and Racism Community Advisory Group, cities, small businesses, chambers of commerce, labor unions, trade associations, sports teams, venues, community groups, and faith-based leaders throughout the county to ensure the policy is workable, fair, and equitable for businesses and residents. King County residents can provide feedback by e-mail at coronavirus@kingcounty.gov.

Anyone needing a vaccine can visit www.KingCounty.gov/vaccine to find a vaccine in their neighborhood. To date, more than 3 million vaccine doses have been administered in King County.                                                                                                

“We’re at a critical point in the pandemic. In a County where more than 4 out of 5 eligible residents have taken advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID, vaccine verification is the best way for businesses and gatherings to remain open, vibrant, and at full capacity,” said Executive Constantine. “My staff and Public Health officials are continuing to gather feedback and listen to community and business groups in a county-wide effort to keep our recovery going, keep people safe, and end this pandemic.”

“We are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations caused by the highly infectious Delta variant that is causing serious stress on our regional healthcare system,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County’s Health Officer. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective, and readily available, and verifying vaccination in certain non-essential, high-risk settings can make those places safer for the public, workers, and our community, including children who are not currently eligible for vaccination.”

Cassie Sauer, President and CEO of Washington State Hospital Association; Heather Likins RN, Critical Care Unit, Virginia Mason; Todd Minor, Nana’s Southern Kitchen; Nate Dwyer, Chief Operating Officer of Seattle Theatre Group were among those who attended the event and spoke to the press.

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