State worker vaccination increases ahead of mandate deadline

OLYMPIA — As a crucial deadline for Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate approaches, state data shows vaccination numbers for workers subject to the requirement are about 20 percent higher than earlier this month.

The Seattle Times reported more than two-thirds of state workers have gotten their shot.

By Oct. 4, most workers must show they have gotten all their shots in order to be considered fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.

Meanwhile, state agencies have granted nearly 800 accommodations to state workers whose religious or medical exemptions were approved.

The accommodations allow workers to avoid getting fired for not being vaccinated, and they allow them to work in a role that does not put others at potential risk.

Inslee said in a news conference last week that he was holding firm to the Oct. 18 deadline.

While confirmed cases and hospitalizations have recently begun to drop, hospitals remain stressed. About 30 Washingtonians are dying from the virus daily.

As of Sept. 20, a little more than 68 percent of the nearly 63,000 workers subject to the mandate have been verified as vaccinated, up from 49 percent as of Sept. 6, according data from the state Office of Financial Management.

State workers have protested Inslee’s mandates, with several thousand seeking religious or medical exemptions to avoid the shots.

But an exemption alone is not enough to save a worker’s job. Those whose exemptions are approved must still be granted an accommodation that allows them to keep working in a role acceptable to both the agency and the worker.

A hearing was conducted Monday in a lawsuit by hundreds of workers opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, with a judge in Walla Walla granting the Inslee administration’s request to move the case to Thurston County.

More in News

Members of the Captain Joseph House Foundation gather in October to celebrate the gifting of a Gold Star Monument marker in front of the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. (Courtesy photo)
Captain Joseph House to host Memorial Day ceremony

Respite home provides space for Gold Star Families

Memorial Day ceremonies set across Peninsula

Public invited to events in Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Sequim

Dash Air to pursue a public charter

Model would change from commercial service

Board recommends $940K for Clallam Bay-Sekiu sewer

Two lift stations would be replaced in coming year

Investigators seeking woman who used ATM

Items involved in officer-involved shooting sent to state crime lab

Benji Astrachan of Sisterland Farms collects bins of unwanted food collected by restaurants at the Wharf in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Certification connects businesses, sustainable practices

Green Wheel designation focusing on diverting waste from landfills

Health report prompts concerns

Food bank leaders: Rodent problem being addressed

Port Angeles approves funds for housing project

City also OKs five-year police body-worn camera contract

Greywolf Elementary shelters in place during police activity

A man has been arrested following police activity in the… Continue reading

Turns restricted during roundabout construction

Drivers will not be able to make left turns at… Continue reading

Scheduled bridge closures canceled

Overnight closures of the Hood Canal bridge on state Highway… Continue reading