Washington governor orders vaccines for state employees, health care workers

Washington governor orders vaccines for state employees, health care workers
© Greg Nash

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday ordered most state employees and health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their jobs.

Under Inslee's order, state employees and contractors working on projects within the state will have until Oct. 18 to provide proof of vaccination. Exceptions will only be allowed for medical or religious reasons, according to The Seattle Times.

Those employees who do not have a valid reason — political or philosophical objections and not considered valid reasons under the policy — will face “nondisciplinary dismissal” if they do not meet the vaccination deadline, Inslee's office told the newspaper.

ADVERTISEMENT

Local government officials including Seattle Mayor Jenny DurkanJenny DurkanSeattle lawmakers approve six-month notice for rent increases Washington state extends eviction protections through end of October Seattle extends eviction moratorium into January MORE (D) and King County Executive Dow Constantine (D) have also taken a stance to require vaccinations for city and county employees. Seattle police, state social workers, county jail employees and local road crews will reportedly be mandated to get vaccinated in alignment with Inslee's order.

Washington has seen an increase in coronavirus infections led by the delta variant, which sparked Inslee's mandate.

“We have essentially what is a new virus at our throats — a new virus that is twice as transmittable and is causing an explosion of this dread disease in the state of Washington,” Inslee said at a news conference, according to the Times.

Inslee also said that the vaccination requirement will apply to nearly 60,000 state employees regardless of whether they have returned to in-person work or are still working remotely. 

President BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE last month issued an order requiring all federal employees to either get vaccinated or agree to regular coronavirus testing. He also called on federal contractors to follow suit.

“If you want to do business with the fed government, get your workers vaccinated,” Biden said at the time