Gov. Inslee remains firm on Oct. 18 vaccine deadline for state workers

Oct 14, 2021, 9:33 AM | Updated: 3:03 pm
Inslee vaccine deadline...
Gov. Jay Inslee. (Office of the Governor)
(Office of the Governor)

Despite pressure from lawmakers and industries to extend the deadline for state employees to be vaccinated, Gov. Inslee made clear on Thursday that he’s holding firm to the Monday, Oct. 18 date.

Thousands gather for anti-vaccine mandate rally in Olympia

Monday, Oct. 4, marked the final day for state employees to either get their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the first and only dose of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, to account for the two-week period needed to achieve full vaccination. The expectation is that state workers who aren’t fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 will be terminated from their positions.

Inslee softened the deadline for some non-represented workers in early October, affording them the same conditions agreed to by state unions. That means those workers will get 45 days of leave to get fully vaccinated if they had submitted a request for an exemption that was subsequently denied. Those who have received either one or two doses of the vaccine but aren’t yet fully vaccinated by the deadline will also be allowed to use as many as 30 days of unpaid leave to complete the process.

Thousands of workers not operating under the exceptions already agreed to by the state could be fired at the start of the next week.

“People have had 10 weeks to get vaccinated,” Inslee said, adding that more than nine of 10 state workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 already.

New King County vaccine requirement a ‘sensible step’

Gov. Inslee’s has said that “the state has been diligent in its contingency planning for scenarios after the October 18 vaccination deadline.”

“The sky-high vaccination rates we’re seeing should settle any concerns,” Inslee said in a news release, claiming that “there will not be massive disruptions in state services.”

Gov. Inslee also issued a new vaccine verification requirement Thursday for large events in the state of Washington. Read more here.

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Gov. Inslee remains firm on Oct. 18 vaccine deadline for state workers