As the Monday deadline passed for Washington state workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs, Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee announced that more than 90% of those employees have received the vaccine.
Washington state workers have to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or have an employer-approved medical or religious exemption. There is no testing option. Gov. Inslee’s office said the Monday deadline for state employee verification would not be extended, The Olympian reported.
A U.S. District Court judge denied a request last week for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked the mandate deadline and termination of state employees.
The Washington State Patrol said it no longer employs 127 civil servants and commissioned officers because of the vaccine mandate, including 67 troopers, six sergeants, and one captain, according to a release.
Washington State Ferries is operating on a reduced schedule, owing to staffing shortages, NBC affiliate KING5 reported. KING-5 Seattle also reported that the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department have contingency plans in case they lose staff.
But 98% of Seattle police employees have either been fully vaccinated or were granted exemptions, with 24 employees not submitting their paperwork. About 99% of Seattle Fire employees met the mandate to be fully vaccinated, with 16 people failing to submit paperwork.
Citywide, 99% of Seattle's 11,000 employees complied with the mandate, according to the mayor's office.
The Washington State Department of Corrections said over 90% of its staff have verified they are fully vaccinated, but 502 employees could face losing their jobs.
Seattle Public Schools, meanwhile, said it will suspend 142 of the district's 600 school bus routes due to a driver shortage exacerbated by the vaccine mandate.
Head football coach Nick Rolovich was fired by Washington State University for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Four of Rolovich's assistant coaches were also terminated by the university for failure to get fully vaccinated by Monday.
At least 18 states and the District of Columbia have told their public sector workers to get their shots or risk losing their jobs, and 21 states plus D.C. have such mandates for health care workers. At least nine states have banned vaccine mandates for state employees.
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